To seek out opportunities to build or better the Church with the talents and abilities that God has given me.
The Bible describes the Church as a body with its various parts working together for a common purpose. Each part is essential to the whole. Each part has a very unique and valuable function. Some tasks require only the mouth or hand. Other tasks can be done by various parts of the body, but simply need to get done. While some tasks require the entire body working in unison.
Am I serving?
Suppose that every member assumed that the other members were going to be responsible for greeting newcomers. The result would be a very unfriendly experience for guests. Suppose that everyone assumed that it was someone else’s job to serve in the children’s ministry. The result would be catastrophic. But, suppose every member was poised and prepared to do anything that could possibly contribute to the health and effectiveness of the Church.
Every Mother finds herself making this statement at some point… “Why do I always have to ask you to do things around the house?” The frustration is felt when members of one family are disproportionately concerned with the needs of the household. If mom cleans every mess then no one else is able to appreciate the clean house. As Christians, we are a family. The household has many needs. It is unfair to assume that someone else will take care of it. The fact is, as those who have been lovingly adopted into the royal family, we should be highly motivated to contribute wherever we can. Jesus has called us to be servants. This means seeing a need and pouncing on it. Why? To bring glory to God!
The life of Jesus was marked with humility. The most unexpected and controversial quality of Jesus during His ministry was humility. Why would any Rabbi, much less the Son of God, wash His disciples feet. He presented a radical new way to be like God. The disciple of Christ is commanded to put others needs before our own, to go the “extra mile”. Even Jesus’ first followers struggled with this paradoxical lifestyle.
42 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 43 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
As followers of Christ, it is our privilege to take on the ministry of our Master and Savior. Jesus would have ministered to the least desirable and the most despicable.
He chose a despised tax collector, some dirty fishermen, and eventually a Christian persecutor as his Apostles to build the Church. He spent time with sinful and broken people to give them hope and forgiveness and healing. He has commissioned us to carry on His work to restore and reconcile the lost and hurting back to God. He displayed the heart of the Father for the world to see. He was a servant. He wasn’t above any task or person, but was singularly focused on building the Kingdom of God. If we are going to be like Him, then we must be eager to serve* and seek out opportunities to be used for His glory, not ours.
(To discover Opportunities to Serve at Eastridge, click HERE.)
Am I applying my gifts?
This is a matter of understanding the way God has designed you to contribute to His purposes. We believe that every believer is designed and cultivated into a completely unique expression of God. You have been given spiritual gifts through the Holy Spirit. You have a heart shaped by your specific journey. You have acquired certain abilities and skills. You are a totally unique personality and are shaped and molded by your experiences.
4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.
1 Corinthians 12:4-6
This SHAPE equation helps us to discern which directions to lean toward when searching for our primary ministry, and ultimately our mission. There is no formula or test that can place you into God’s ultimate and final will for your life. It’s always a journey of self and divine discovery. The absolute most important thing is to be continuously involved in the process of discovery. Through this process of trial and error God is able to refine us and use our unique SHAPE. A growing believer must continually be saying, “God show me what to do NOW.” Right now…what is God urging you to do?
12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many. 15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
1 Corinthians 12:12-20
At this point, it is important to note that the moment a person’s leg becomes severed it no longer qualifies as a part of the body. On a practical level, it is also true that a part of the body that ceases to function becomes a liability. That is the point that Jesus is making here. Every part of the body must persist in fulfilling its function to prevent the Church from becoming handicapped. As members of the Body of Christ we must be passionate about the health of the whole body. What part of the body would you say that you are? Hand, foot, mouth, brain, kidney, heart…
If you have absolutely no idea where to start, then talk to a mature believer about your S.H.A.P.E.* or set up a meeting with a Church staff member to talk through the possibilities. The key is to be persistent and humble. Usually in the process of serving and contributing God will gently direct you towards the best fit, but don’t be discouraged if He has some important detours along the way. Be committed to contribute to the body with your unique shape and be persistent. God will nudge you along as you find your fit.
(To download the SHAPE assessment, click HERE.)