“Let’s activate what God’s called us do!”
As our pastor championed this statement, he stepped over to a large display of the words “ACTIVATE” and flipped a switch. In a moment, the words lit up – radiating the entire auditorium. The hype in the building was elevated.
It felt like the moment a head coach stirs up his team before the Super Bowl. After his words, thousands of people were eager to partner together in unity and make the greatest team possible.
Kayla and I were in that crowd. We were ready to join a team and start serving in the church – after all, teamwork makes the dream work … right?
We quickly walked to the lobby to select a team to join and after talking to one of their team members, we made our way to the car. We were both excited – almost giddy – to be joining a team. While walking back, we asked each other what teams the other selected.
“I picked the parking team because I want to drive the golf cart in the parking lot.”
“I joined the hospitality team so I can talk to new guests!”
Getting in my car, an awkward pause soon ensued. We looked at each and both agreed that those weren’t the two teams we were supposed to join. Slighty perturbed by God's timing (I really, really, wanted to drive the golf cart) I progressed with a sigh because I knew what God was doing next.
“On the count of three,” I said, “Let’s blurt out the team we both think God wants us to join.” We did this count off – and still do to this day – to avoid bias. If God is talking to us individually, we rationed in our mind that the 1-2-3 game is the correct way to make sure we don’t influence the other person.
1 … 2 … 3 … K I D S!
Before the S rattled off our tongue, I yelled, “NOOOO!” (I may have been inspired by Michael Scott). To condense a long story, we joined the kids team because we felt that’s where God wanted us to be.
The big picture was evident. Jesus was taking us on a process to be more like Him.
Months prior to this moment we were wondering if God is even around on Monday – we loved God on Sunday, but didn’t’ care to know Him any other day of the week. But, in typical God fashion, He showed Himself in my ’96 Saturn Sedan to shift our perspective.
He challenged us to pursue Him more. It worked! As we loved Him more and spent time with Him on a deeper level, simply attending church was the bare minimum. It was now time to do what Jesus did the best – serve others around us.
So, what made us move from attending church to serving others? It may have taken us a while, but we understood that while change can be uncomfortable, it is essential for us to keep moving in our faith journey.
We understood the importance
Sure, our pastor did an excellent job of communicating the why behind the importance of serving others. But even before this message, it was something we couldn’t shake.
As we begin to open God’s Word more and more there was one overwhelming theme. Jesus’ purpose was to serve others. To take it a step further, He equipped and developed His disciples (and anyone else who would listen) to do the same thing.
While being selfless and choosing someone’s needs over myself isn’t natural for me, I couldn’t move past Jesus’ example. With this new-found knowledge and conviction, I tried to serve others in my everyday life.
I would do the little things no one noticed at work. I tried to do the same with my peers. I even let a former LSU football player who is now in the NFL take my notes every class – talk about serving others!
From an individual perspective, we bought into the importance of serving. It only felt right to attach that to a wider perspective, which was the local church.
We wanted to do something “more”
I believe there’s a large part of us that want to be attached to something bigger than ourselves. I’m reminded of a Forbes study from a few years ago, which found that 84 percent of those 25-34-years-old desire to make a positive impact on our world.
That’s something bigger than our daily lives.
The local church is one of the only organizations where you have (potentially) hundreds or thousands of individuals likeminded in pursuing a common goal.
For us – when Jesus so lovingly suggested we serve on a Kids Team – it wasn’t about preparing a lesson and being a warm body for these kids. To us, it was our something more.
Far deeper than the surface of our tasks during a one hour class every week were the conversations of who these kids would eventually be. When we shifted our perspective, and started thinking about the future influence these kids will have – it became an honor and humbling opportunity to be able to serve them in a small capacity.
To us, that was our something more. What is yours?
We loved our church
This may make you double take, but you want to know why we wanted to serve our church? We loved our church. What a novel thought!
When you love something, you will find ways to take ownership in it. I love the New England Patriots. They’ve been a part of my life for 20 years. I occasionally go to their games. I watch every other one on T.V., I read all their content. I buy their clothes. I even will occasionally troll my friends with a picture of Tom Brady on social media.
I pay money and give my time to an organization that doesn’t even know I exist. Guess what? I’m 100 percent fine with that.
But, what happens when that same love is passed through my local church? In college – it was the same way. We spoke and lived the culture. We invited people. We wore the shirts – we loved it. When we served and started making a difference in individuals lives, we felt that love in even a deeper way.
We never received one dollar for our countless hours of serving. But the reward we felt and experienced through individuals was life-changing. It was eternal.
I’ve never once received any compensation for being a Patriots fan – minus a few Super Bowl victories, but I’m still loyal.
I’m not a Patriots fans because of what I get from it. I’m a Patriots fan because of my deep love for their organization and what it means for me and my family.
I don’t serve in my local church because of what I get from it. I do it because I’m in love with the mission – to serve Jesus and serve others.
People want to be a part of something they love, and they will sacrifice time and energy to do it.
I remember sitting in a side room 15 minutes before our first time teaching the kids. The children’s pastor went over some final direction and prayed. I had no idea what to expect. How could 8-year-olds be this intimidating?
After we prayed, we made our way to the class. Kayla and I looked at each other and we began teaching together. While we never said it, you could tell that we knew what God was doing.
We finally went from merely attending to serving and we’ve never looked back since. Everyone wants to chase purpose, destiny and fulfillment. With confidence I can say, you’re never more fulfilled than when you serve others.