We’ve been pretty enthusiastic about serving in church on the blog lately.
I wouldn’t mention it, except that I want to make sure you hear this last post of our series as a continuation of that enthusiasm, not a contravention. For the vast majority of you reading this post, you should be looking for more ways to serve or ways to grow in depth and maturity of service, seeking leadership or learning to use your giftings, or perhaps deepening relationships with those you serve alongside.
Please, go, and do, and grow! You can’t imagine the ways God is going to bless you through that service.
And yet, there’s a small minority out there that it’s important not to forget as we call for more commitment and more involvement. Those of you whose hearts have wilted a little when you think of serving or doing more, feeling small and incapable or weary and worn, you are the ones we want to address here.
For any of us who call the church home and family, there are seasons, long and short, obvious and not, when we need to step away from serving to rest and be served. In those seasons please do so, for your sake and the sake of the body.
Because we’re all very different and serving is by far the norm, it takes some discernment to see these seasons.
Those of you whose hearts have wilted a little when you think of serving or doing more, feeling small and incapable or weary and worn, you are the ones we want to address here.
When it comes to discernment, the first and best tool you have will always be your church family, particularly those who know you and your relationship with God well, the ones you walk alongside. Ideally, that’s your community group, your leaders, your close friends, or your spouse, if you have one. If you don’t have at least one of those, find one. These people are invaluable. They’ll be able to show you your blind spots [those patterns and habits of yours that you haven’t noticed] to encourage you, and to support you. They’ll be there to pray for you.
We talk often about the gift of being seen and known, and this is what we mean. When you need help figuring something out, it can be so hard to admit. It can be so hard to give someone permission to tell you things you might not want to hear, and yet God gives us each other because we can’t do this on our own.
Pro tip: counsel-givers should be at least as concerned about you, your health, and your growth as they are about the service you give the church – because we value people over tasks.
For a second discernment tool, I’d like to identify a few archetypes I’ve known – or been – who need to take a breath and accept that now is not the time to serve consistently or even at all. These are definitely extreme cases, given as examples for you to examine your heart and tendencies, hopefully before you fall into the traps described. If these don’t resonate with you, consider if there’s someone you know and love who might have one of these blind spots or need encouragement. Whether this insight is for you or another, start praying and being open to conversations on the subject.