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This past year was the 150th year that God has poured out his grace on my home church. I often feel like the other parishioners have been around all those 150 years, and they know everything and I know nothing. I ask myself, "What can I do to make a difference? God can't possibly use me to accomplish anything. After all, I don't like discussing the church budget while drinking coffee and eating Jello salad."
God has many answers, though, to the common plea of "What can I do?" Romans 12:6-8 gives us insight to what we can do.
If it is serving, let him serve. Churches provide multitudes of ways for people of all ages to serve. I use my musical talents to serve a local congregation by playing the organ and piano every other week. A lot of congregations can use the endless energy of the young for shoveling, mowing the lawn, and ushering.
If it is teaching, let him teach. Last summer my friend and I helped out with vacation Bible school. We spent a couple of hours each day for a week, teaching children songs using PowerPoint. We had loads of fun and got to eat a great meal every day too. Sunday school also provides a wonderful opportunity for teens to serve their Lord and fellow Christians.
If it is encouraging, let him encourage. This is very easy. Many of us have friends who don't attend church regularly. We can simply encourage them to come to church with us.
If it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously. Many of us have jobs. Often the money we earn goes to our own personal needs. It's not uncommon for us to spend four dollars on a Starbucks coffee, but then we grumble when we put a dollar bill in the collection plate. God doesn't ask that we give him every penny that we earn. We ought to give to the church, generously, out of thanks for everything that God has done for us.
If it is leadership, let him govern diligently. Many of our churches have youth groups and other opportunities for teens. We are the future of the church. We must prepare ourselves for the tasks that God asks us to do. Though it is good to have the church look nice and the services run smoothly, one thing cannot be ignored. Jesus tells us in Matthew 28:19: "Go and make disciples of all nations." Jesus didn't say, "If you have time, go and make disciples," or "Try to tell others about me." It's the Great Commission, not the Great Suggestion. Some churches have evangelism groups that go door-to-door and witness. We can also witness with our lives. If we live in a way that honors God, others will see that and start asking questions about why we don't participate in the same earthly "pleasures" that others do. The Holy Spirit, indeed, uses us to start the seed of faith in people's hearts through our testimony of Jesus.
When you start to ask yourself, "What can I do?" don't think too hard. God has given all of us many different talents and material possessions with which to serve him. Satan will use things like your age and level of experience to try to make you think that you're not important in the church body. That's not true! All believers of all different ages work toward the common goal: to preach Jesus Christ crucified.
Author: Gaige Kerr
Copyrighted WELS Forward in Christ
Are you looking for national or international service opportunities? Many are available through WELS Kingdom Workers, an organization that coordinates volunteer efforts in mission fields.
Christian Aid and Relief is always looking for volunteers to help with disaster relief efforts. If you'd like to volunteer, complete the registration form. Note: Your willingness to serve at least two weeks is preferred.
Read how Bob volunteered his time in retirement to help students.