Monday, July 18, 2011
13 Characteristics of a Growing Church: Service
So here's a quick recap of the Characteristics of a Growing Church:
1st Love Genuinely
2nd Hate What is Evil
3rd Cling to What is Good
4th Devoted to One Another
The 8th characteristic of a growing Church is Service.
"Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord." Romans 12:11 NIV
I don't know about you but I think that Americans are really spoiled. For the most part our country is really great and we have a lot of freedoms--including religious ones. Just the fact that I can have a blog that's all about God and the things that He is teaching me and how I try to serve Him is a privilege that I often take for granted but others around the world would die for. I can go around and scream "I LOVE JESUS!!!" and all I will get are a few stares or some harsh words. Others could literally die for that. Then why aren't we as Americans taking advantage of our freedom to proclaim God and using it to serve Him? I personally think it's because we are lazy and we are worried about what our friends will think of us being "Jesus Freaks".
On Friday night I was really encouraged by one of our students. Planning for this mission trip has been difficult and there were a few times that we thought about calling it off completely. No one seemed to be excited about going to Kansas City to share Christ and to serve Him in 100+ degree heat. So I had some really mixed feelings about how things were going to turn out. Then Friday night came and so did Kody.
Kody is a new believer. This is His first ever mission trip, and He's still figuring out the whole Christian thing. Well Kody was supposed to come to our house at 9pm on Friday so that he and Scott could help us load stuff into our van bright and early Saturday morning. Kody got to our house at 8pm. His smile was beaming and his excitement was contagious. In fact, he was so excited about mission trip and coming over to help load stuff that he forgot half of his mission trip supplies including a sleeping bag, towel, pillow, water bottle, and Bible. I just laughed and was thankful that my wife keeps a stock of a few extra hospitality items. So Kody and I talked about how excited he was about mission trip while Christiana pulled out our extra sleeping bag, water, towels, Bible, and other items Kody needed.
I look forward to see if Kody's excitement continues as he serves God this week. Kody helped to remind me that a church that is focused on missions is a church that is focused on Christ. After all, Jesus' last instructions to His disciples were to go and tell all people about Him (Matt. 28:19-20). Why would they call it the Great Commission if it wasn't important? We constantly need to be serving not only other Christians but also anyone who comes in contact with the church and with us as Christians.
Serving wasn't a suggestion or just some great idea. It was a command. Go! Missions is one of the most obvious ways that we can serve God, but there are many other ways as well. Just because you can't get off work for a week to serve God in Kansas City or elsewhere doesn't mean that you get a free pass from serving. Find a need in your church or your community and meet it. You can do that. I know you can!