What Can I Do?1
Have you ever looked around on a Sunday and thought, “I’d like to get more involved, but what can I do?” It can seem like a hard barrier to overcome; what spots are available and how can I fill them? But what if filling ministry spots wasn’t what the church really needed? What if there was a greater ministry opportunity with limitless potential just waiting for you to dive in?
We recently gifted the book The Trellis and the Vine to our entire church staff, deacons, and small group leaders in order to continue to further the discussion about shaping our church culture around disciple-making. Here is an excerpt from the book that exemplifies the sort of shift in thinking from filling spots and checking boxes to empowering people to reach and grow others in Christ.
Imagine a reasonably solid Christian said to you after church one Sunday morning, “Look, I’d like to get more involved here and make a contribution, but I just feel like there’s nothing for me to do. I’m not on the ‘inside’’ I don’t get asked to be on committees or lead Bible studies. What can I do?”
What would you immediately think or say? Would you start thinking of some event or program about to start that they could help with? Some job that needed doing? Some ministry that they could join or support?
This is how we are used to thinking about the involvement of church members in congregational life – in terms of jobs and roles: usher, Bible study leader, Sunday School teacher, treasurer, elder, musician, song leader, money counter, and so on. The implication of this way of thinking for congregation members is clear: if all the jobs and roles are taken, then there’s really nothing for me to do in this church. I’m reduced to being a passenger. I’ll just wait until I’m asked to ‘do something’. The implication for the pastoral staff is similar: getting people involved and active means finding a job for them to do. In fact, the church growth gurus say that giving someone a job to do within the first six months of their joining your church is vital for them to feel like they belong.
However, if the real work of God is people work – the prayerful speaking of His word by one person to another – then the jobs are never all taken. The opportunities for Christians to minister personally to others are limitless.
So you could pause, and reply to your friend, “See that guy sitting over there on his own? That’s Julie’s husband. He’s on the fringe of things here; in fact, I’m not really sure whether he’s crossed the line yet and become a Christian. How about I introduce you to him, and you arrange to have breakfast with him once a fortnight and read the Bible together? Or see that couple over there? They are both fairly recently converted, and really in need of encouragement and mentoring? Why don’t you and your wife have them over, get to know them, and read and pray together once a month? And if you still have time, and want to contribute some more, start praying for the people in your street, and then invite them all to a barbeque at your place. That’s the first step towards talking with them about the gospel, or inviting them along to something.”
Of course, there’s every chance that the person will then say, “But I don’t know how to do those things! I’m not sure I’d know what to say or where to start.”
To which you reply, “Oh that’s okay. Let’s start meeting together, and I can train you.”
Have you looked to ‘get involved,’ but didn’t know where to start?
Like the idea, but want some training?
Interested in reading the book (pages 1-92) and joining our discussion on Sunday, October 21 – 12:30 PM in the Fireside Room?
Email me. Let's talk.
Derick Zeulner is an associate pastor at South Shores Church. He has a M.A. in Theology from Talbot School of Theology in La Mirada, CA and he loves the wacky adventures of doing life with his wife, Rebecca, and 4 kids.