Welcome to Day 8 of #write31days!
For more information check out the series’ page.
“We’re in need of a piano player for Sunday worship. Can you please help out?”
“You’re really good with devotions/children’s ministry/insert whatever ministry in here. We would love to have you fulltime for this.”
Are you familiar with these last-minute emails?
Just a small task. Just a little more giving. Because hey, it’s all for the kingdom of God and you certainly can’t hold back now.
I have been to quite a few churches and I always got more involved. For me, church is more than just going there on Sundays and enjoying a two-hour worship and sermon performance. It’s about the people serving together, sharing life together. The church is the living body of Christ, so we are so supposed to live and work together.
But “serving and living together” can easily become a burden if we are not aware of its limitations and set appropriate boundaries.
We all have been given certain gifts that we should use to serve God and others. A musical person who never plays an instrument is missing out on the blessings coming from music. An encourager who never opens his mouth will not see how his words uplift others. A teacher who never shares the word with others will never see that lightbulb going on in someone else’s head. The one who stays away will never experience the gift of community.
Getting involved in various church ministries is a good way to connect with people. Giving will result in being given, I have experienced that. But sometimes we give too much. We invest in several places at the same time. Working with people especially can be tough because they don’t function like machines. They have their own thoughts, miss appointments, let you down.
Serving will drain energy. And if you give without ever receiving, you’ll burn out. Your talents are no longer used to bless others, they rather feel like being thrown away without anything in return.
Leave Your Brain Outside
In a normal church, after some worship and announcements comes the core element of the service: the sermon.
It is very easy to leave church feeling all good or moved or encouraged. Simply soaking up all the stories that remind you of better times.
It is very convenient to shut off your brain and just relax because the preacher won’t get to you anyway. Just take his words for granted, I mean he went to bible school, so he must know, right?
I am a digger (some also call me a nerd), I love to dive into things, explore different facets of words and concepts. So I always appreciate a preacher who doesn’t just touch my feelings, but gives me food for thought. I admire what others can grind out of a passage, how they inspire me even though I have read a text so many times before. But most of all, I enjoy preachers who make me want to go home and read my bible for myself. Who don’t spoonfeed me like a small child, but push me to question, to doubt, to learn. I benefit from other people’s wisdom and insight, but I am allowed, yes even challenged, to use my own brain and develop a personal relationship with God outside the church.
Not all of us are pastors, youth ministers, or worship leaders. Most of us have ‘normal’ jobs during the week and go to church on Sunday. Because we have these two different things going on we sometimes tend to separate our lives into two spheres: the worldly and the holy. These two can’t go together, so we have worldly and church friends, wordly and church personalities, wordly and church work.
For the last three years I’ve been part of a European Youth Movement inspiring and equipping young people to live a missional lifestyle. One major tool to do that is a bi-annual congress with more than 3000 people from all over Europe coming together to celebrate New Year’s, learning from God and each other, being inspired to serve. It is an immense blessing seeing and working with so many different people! But of course, organizing such a big event is a lot of work, a lot of ‘church work’. Tons of emails and requests, endless spreadsheets and logistics, many unexpected problems. All next to graduating from university and having a life. So what did I do? I wrote these emails and dealt with these problems on Sundays because it was ‘church work’. The day of rest was filled with work. Everything for the kingdom.
Well, to make it short, it worked for a while. But very soon I felt empty, burned out. I even got sick. My hands were in pain, I couldn’t type anymore, my back was sore. I gave everything, but could not go on.
How do you spend your Sundays?
What kind of jobs do you have in your church? How do you feel about them?