Why would anyone sacrifice time to serve somewhere for free? I can remember being a teenager and having this exact thought. My parents were very involved in our church and community. They were constantly volunteering their time for various events. As their child, that obviously meant they also volunteered my time. Can you call it volunteering if you are told you have to do it? I think many of us have experienced being voluntold to do something by our parents.
My teenage bitterness aside, why is it that we would serve? Why would someone take a Saturday to help with the charity 5K? Why would someone give up their time on a Sunday morning to serve the local church? There are many benefits to serving, and I can say — with complete confidence — that I am a better person because my parents volunteered me to serve in my teenage years.
Here are just three of the many benefits you can experience when you serve.
Serving Helps You Feel Connected
One of the biggest reasons why people serve is that it is a way for them to get connected with people from their community. Serving pairs you with people that have similar interests to accomplish a common goal. This provides a perfect atmosphere for forming lasting friendships. It also connects you with something larger than yourself. You are a part of a team. You succeed or fail as a team. When you succeed there is a shared rush of adrenaline in seeing your goals met. If you fail, then you have someone next to you to help pick you up. You can feel the loss together and move forward.
“Serving has been a great way to grow my friendships within the church community. it would have been a lot harder to build this just from going to services on Sunday.” ~Emily Bruns
For us in particular, serving your local church makes you a partner of the overall mission of the church. We live the saying that fellow believers are brothers or sisters in Christ. That means you are a part of not just a team but of a family. We, the family that is the Church, work together to see the mission of the church fulfilled. We see people experience the love of Jesus and accept Him as their savior. We see people decide to make that public through the waters of baptism. And see people grow in this community to daily become more like Jesus! When you serve, you are a part of making that happen. We all get to celebrate together as one family!
Serving Helps You Grow
Serving by its very definition is about selfless acts for others. When you serve you are helping others grow. That could look like helping with a 5K and through that, we are helping people become healthier and raising their awareness about a good cause. Or it could be that you are serving on a Sunday morning at your local church and you are helping them grow in their relationship with Jesus. Your service helps others grow.
“Since serving I have more patience and grace, not only to others but to my own family. Volunteering with others and seeing how patient they are makes me reflect on my own relationships and make changes for the better.” ~Stephanie Eagler
You may sign up to serve just to help others, but inevitably you will also grow. You pour yourself into serving but often what you find is that you are being poured into as well. At Quest, we always talk about serving out of the overflow. We are going to pour into you but you also need God to be pouring into you. When you have people pouring into you and God pouring into you, then you will inevitably spill out of your cup from overflowing. This is the best place to be since you are growing and being filled which leads to you naturally serving others.
Serving Helps You Step Into God’s Purpose For Your Life
Personally, some of my greatest joys in ministry have come from people serving and finding their purpose from serving. I love watching someone begin to serve for whatever reason, only to have them fall in love with serving. Something about it sparks something in their heart and they realize and walk into their God-given purpose. You were created by God for a purpose! Sometimes we get so caught up in just surviving or making a living that we lose the fact that God has made us for a purpose. The King of all creation has something specifically made for you to accomplish. You may be sitting there doubting if that is true. Or even if it is, you may wonder how you can figure it out.
Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. ~1 John 3:18
We were never created to just be consumers of the Gospel. We were made to be participants in the Gospel. Especially here in the South, sometimes we find ourselves looking at the salvation that Jesus provides as “fire insurance.” This is an old school look at salvation as basically just a ticket to Heaven. God saved you for so much more! You now get to be Jesus to others and show them the love of God! So take the next step and serve. You never know what God might show you as you participate in the Gospel!