Share Ministry, Even If It’s No Big Deal, Because It Actually Is
Here’s a quick story from church life that seems ho-hum on the surface. But the reality is, God used it to remind me of an important truth that I was veering from. Oftentimes the Lord is at work in the very ordinary.
Our church partners with a local Free Food Market, which serves area families who live at or below the poverty level. Each month we ask attendees to bring a designated item that we gather up and then take to the Market. Sometimes it’s diapers. Sometimes it’s canned beans. Some months it’s veggies. Next month we’re collecting toilet paper.
Each Sunday for the last year, my family would throw all the donations in our trunk, take them home, stack them up in our garage, and then drive them over to the Market at the end of the month. No big deal. A couple months this summer I got way behind in my deliveries and canned food was piled so high you couldn’t find the tool bench. Kind of a pain, but not a real problem.
About a month ago I was making announcements during our church service, including the next donation item for everyone to bring in. Without forethought I said, “There’s actually one small job that I would love to share with someone who might be interested in being an important link in the chain for this ministry. Let me know if that’s you after the service.” I honestly didn’t think anyone would inquire and that was fine. Like I said, no big deal. Not a real problem.
After the service a young mom (of three boys ages four and under) who had been attending our church for less than a month asked me what the link-in-the-chain job entailed. I told her about gathering all the donation items each Sunday and taking them to the Market at the end of the month.
Her eyes lit up and she said, “I’d love to do that! I’ve been looking for some way that I can serve with my boys. I want to do something they can see so I can show them that our family serves at church and serves in the community. This would be perfect!”
While indeed a simple story, here are a few implications that I hope will encourage you, as they did me, whether you’re a church leader or a church attendee or even a new mom:
1. If you’re a church leader and you’re like me, you do a hundred things a week and think to yourself, “I could hand this over to someone, but it only takes me a minute, and it’s not that big a deal. Really, not a problem.” While those sentiments are true, what’s also true is that it’s a hoarding mentality. It prioritizes my convenience over sharing ministry. It robs others of the chance to serve. If I hadn’t made that announcement on a whim, my friend would still be wondering where she might serve and I probably wouldn’t even know she was looking.
2. If you’re a church attendee, don’t underestimate the value of serving in what feels like small ways. Seemingly small acts of service do indeed add up. Our church’s participation in the Free Food Market is a chain with multiple links. When my friend took over the middle link, it not only freed me and my family up a bit, but it connected her to all the church attendees who bring donations each week. Her link in the chain allows dozens of people to serve the underprivileged in our community. That “small” act is actually a big deal.
3. If you’re a young mom, this is a testimony that you can indeed serve with your littles ones in tow. During this season of her life there are many things she can’t do because of her kids’ ages and their needs—but physically transporting donated items in her van is something she can do. And it’s something they can see. It’s a tangible example to her young sons that their family serves Jesus. If you're in her season, as the leaders at your church for something doable like this--and don't take no for an answer (they may need the nudge!).
This simple story has been used by the Holy Spirit to impress an important lesson on my heart: share ministry, even if it’s no big deal, because it actually is. The Lord designed our church families to function this way. By hoarding even small tasks, I prevent other parts of the body from playing their role. Thankfully, my friend was eager to serve and she reached out in her desire for the edification of the body and community.
The Word of God is true! It was silly and wrong of me to minimize God’s calling for each and every body part. I’m so glad my friend didn’t.
For the body does not consist of one member but of many…God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. - 1 Corinthians 12:14-20