Chances are, you’re headed to church at some point today.
For some of you, you’ll stand on a stage and lead worship or preach the message. Others of you might hold a baby, play games with a group of preschoolers or make a kid with special needs feel like a million bucks by meeting him where he is. Some might be brewing coffee, helping direct parking, answering questions for guests or blowing up balloons for the church lobby.
And a lot of you will show up, check your kiddos into their rooms, grab a cup of coffee and find your seat.
No matter which role you play in the life of your church, it matters. You are essential to making every single person who steps across the threshold at the front door feel like they are seen, loved and valued.
The local church is not about a 60-minute service. It’s not about the programs and ministries. It’s about people experiencing the love and hope of Jesus Christ.
People are walking in the doors of your church because they exist in a world that isn’t meeting their needs for community and purpose. Your church is the answer God intended. And in order for your church to be what it is, it needs you.
- Show up. If you do nothing else in the life of your church but show up and spectate, that’s okay. The people around you need you to do that. On the Sundays I least feel like getting up and attending church, I end up getting the greatest return on my investment of doing so. You aren’t going to walk out of church feeling like you would have been better had you not shown up. If you ever do, there’s a much bigger problem that needs to be addressed.
- Sign up. If you don’t know what to do, ask someone who looks like they know what they are doing how you can get involved. Whether you serve 1 or 100 times a year, God will do big things through your little efforts. Your job isn’t to do great things for God. Just do things for a great God. He will do the rest. Whatever your passion is, your church has a role for you. Kids ministry, worship, administrative, greeting – whatever. No role is more significant than another. And guess what? If signing up for an official volunteer position at your church feels like torture, just start with having a posture of an open heart. Open your eyes to the people around you. Help a single momma get her little ones in the building, hold the door open for an older gentleman, give up your favorite seat for someone else or offer to get a cup of coffee for a first time guest sitting near you. Serving isn’t about a name tag and a “job.” It’s about making people feel welcome in a place you call home.
- Load up. If your church is a place you’re proud to call home, invite people in your life to experience what you love about it. Think about a time when someone invited you to a club or a party. How did it make you feel that your friends wanted you to be a part of this thing they loved? Your friends, neighbors, coworkers and restaurant servers are just waiting for you to invite them to the party. Load up your Chevrolet Tahoe and come on! Is inviting people to a Sunday experience too much for you? Keep your ears open for the next kids’ event or outreach opportunity and invite people to THAT first.
If you do nothing but show up on a Sunday, a person who has never been to church before might be watching you to see how they are supposed to act at church. That’s important.
If you brew the coffee, a nurse who worked the overnight shift last night will get the caffeine she needs to be attentive and hear something from stage that will change the trajectory of her week. That’s important.
If you hold a baby in the nursery with a smile, a new mom can enjoy the service, knowing her precious little one is well taken care, and she might encounter the presence of Jesus she needed to not have a breakdown from little sleep. That’s important.
If you help seat people in your church’s crowded sanctuary/auditorium, you are helping create a smooth experience for the elderly couple who just walked into your church and don’t know what to do or where to sit by making sure there’s a seat for them, even if they are late. That’s important.
If you are a greeter, you will smile at, hug or high five a young adult who feels invisible in a crowded room. That’s important.
If you lead a group of elementary kids, you might be the caring adult they need to show them the love and joy of Jesus in a really dark moment in their lives. That’s important.
You don’t have to be on stage or staff to make a difference. Actually, if it weren’t for people just like you and me, nobody would show up to experience the service, and even if they did, they wouldn’t enjoy it because their kids would be running around complaining about being hungry and bored, they’d be half asleep and there would be nobody running lights and sound.
Just when you think what you do is insignificant in the life of your church, remember that every Sunday – including today – is someone’s first. It could be their first Sunday at your church, or any church. But regardless, it could be their first Sunday to meet you.
Don’t let that moment go by without taking advantage of it.
Get up. Get ready. Get to church.