“But Jesus called them to him and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant,and whoever would be first among you must be your slave,even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many'” (Matthew 20:25-28 ESV).
“Pastor, you’re always talking about how God gives us spiritual gifts and a call to serve, but I don’t know what my gifts are and I don’t really feel especially called to serve anywhere.”
“Hey pastor, I know you keep saying that we need more workers in the nursery, but I don’t feel called to serve there.”
“Hey PG! I noticed there’s a need for more greeters during the second service. I think I can add that to my Sunday routine if I can just be 10 minutes late for my tech booth duties. Of course, I’m also helping with Lord’s Supper every 5th Sunday, so I couldn’t do it on those days. But…”
These are just a few of the types of comments that I receive from WCCers on a regular basis. There are those who are unsure of their gifting and don’t know where to serve. There are those who always feel that their gifts are somewhere other than where the greatest needs are. And then there are those who do too much, wearing themselves out trying to answer every need.
How I answer depends on the person, but there’s an ideal balance that we advise everyone to follow.
Serve in two places: One according to gifting and one according to need.
This answer satisfies all concerned. It encourages the one who doesn’t feel gifted to get started and try something. It corrects the one who feels that some jobs are someone else’s duty and never theirs. It also helps the one who takes on too many jobs to limit themselves to only two.
The idea of serving in two places also accomplishes two things in the one serving. Using their giftedness in the first place of service edifies them and the church. They will burn with passion and grow in the use of their gift. The church will be built up as they serve in their sweet spot.
Serving in the second place of need will teach them humility and make them more like Jesus. Sweeping floors, picking up trash, changing diapers, serving coffee… serving in the second place refines their servant’s heart.
And it also shows others a little bit more of Jesus, “who came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”