the takers

I LOVE my church.

I love the church in general because Jesus loves the church, but my church I love more specifically. We don’t do everything right (memo: we’re fallen humans) but we love Jesus with all our hearts and want to live sacrificially so that our city – and yours! – will know him too.

Something I’ve realized as I’ve grown up is that it’s so easy to take from church. Especially big churches that offer a lot. There are Sunday and Saturday night services at any time and location you could possibly want them. There is loud, fun music and a cool, older guy preaching about things that you’ve read a million times but never thought of. We have BBQs at the park and free coffee and people even volunteer to watch your kid for you.

We get SO MUCH from our churches. A lot of us who were raised in church truly because a generation of takers. But what do we give?

I know this might sound silly, stupid or redundant but the fact of the matter is most people at my church aren’t involved on any level. That’s probably the case in your church too. Right now, I’m not involved either. I have a ministry in mind that I want to help out with and in a few months, my husband and I will be leading community group. But as of this very moment, all I do is take from my church.

(Ok, in the interest of full disclosure, N and I do tithe. But beyond that, I got nothin’.)

Why is it so hard to jump in for most of us? I really want to know the answer to that. It’s more comfortable to sit in your seat with your brand name coffee and make snarky comments to your friends or spouse during the sermon than it is to show up early, do someone else’s bidding for a few hours and leave after everyone else has gone home.

This next season is going to be crazy. I’m mentally prepared for that. N and I just became members and we’re already in countdown mode for starting a community group and investing in people’s lives. It’s daunting to be sure. I wish I had more time to hang out with my husband, yes. But I also know that there are people who will benefit from all the craziness I’ve experienced in the last ten years.

We don’t go through trials and mistakes and suffering because of our sin and others’ so that we can pretend everything is perfect and tell people “I’m fine!”. Isn’t the purpose of church to pour ourselves out for others like Christ did for us?

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “the takers

  1. Within the first 6 months of being at our new church we were recruited by some friends to serve on the greeting team, then a few months later we had our first child and became part of the nursery team as well. Soon after I saw a volunteer opening at the church office and felt I could put my accounting background to good use there. We have been very involved for the last 4 years and some months I just wish we could quit volunteering because I feel so stretched. Then I think of how much I enjoy smiling and saying “Good Morning” to everyone arriving at church and being that welcoming face to a brand new attendee that doesn’t know what it’s like to do church in a movie theater. I think of how cute those new little babies are (we don’t get the brand new ones, but the older ones are really cute too) and how fun it is to cuddle them and show them that Jesus loves them. Then I think of the work I do at the church office; how what I do helps the pastors to focus on teaching and loving people instead of stressing over finances.

    It would be easy to go back to being a taker, but then again, it wouldn’t. I am showing people the love of Jesus one smile at a time.

    I think people don’t realize that giving of yourself reaps it’s own rewards. It always feels like work to me before I start. Then the smiles, the handshakes, the cuddles (in the nursery) remind me that people matter more than a few extra minutes of sleep. More than getting a good seat in the service, getting my favorite kind of donut or getting enough cream in my coffee.

  2. Tori

    I definitely do not have this figured out but I do pray that the Lord would give us wisdom so we are fruitful with our lives. We are involved in a few formal ministries but we try to be discerning about how to use our time and to schedule time to pursue informal relationships with other believers and with our neighbors who don’t know Jesus. For me it is essential to remember that I am (part of) the church. The church is not an abstract concept but the church is us, the body of Christ, and we daily live that out by following His commands. Having ministries like coffee and nursery and park BBQ can be fruitful but if we are so committed to those ministries that we feel we don’t have time to get to know and share Love with our neighbors who don’t know Christ, they are worthless. I see a lot of program in most churches (even in our own body, that we love) that does not encourage people to love Jesus more. All this choppy rambling to say that I don’t think we have to be involved in a formal ministry of a church if we are being fruitful with our lives (and respectfully submitting to the leadership God has placed over us). Praying that people would be encouraged to know Jesus (more) as they see you live out new life in Him. (And I praise Him for the grace He gives when we (I) frequently fail!)

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