One of the biggest blessings of being a member of a church is serving. Serving your brothers and sisters in Christ is a beautiful way to express your love and respect for your relationship that is rooted in the foundation of Christ. Depending on the size of your church there may be no shortage of volunteer opportunities and that is wonderful. Church events play an important role in the life of its members and the community at large so these activities are an important bonding and even an evangelical opportunity. I’ve attended church events of all sizes and have participated and served in my fair share of activities. Lately, I’ve been thinking about how these activities are connecting and engaging church members. When we serve through a church event we are also meant to be in fellowship. These events are supposed to edify us, glorify God and help us to create stronger and more intimate bonds with one another. My question is are we becoming to focused on the doing, the performance and the busyness of it all that we’re losing sight of the actual meaning and Christian experience of serving?
We are all too familiar with rushing through our days and muddling through the motions and I’m wondering if this mindset is carrying over into our service at church. Are we putting too much emphasis on the perfect event and not enough emphasis on relationship building? When we serve with our church family we are given a unique opportunity to share our ideas, gifts, and encouragement. We’re given a chance to interact on a deeper level than just a quick hug on Sunday. If we use the opportunity to serve wisely it can lead to the enriched experience that serving was originally intended to do in the family of Christ. We live in a world where bigger is better and that notion has trickled into our churches. I’m not speaking about mega churches, but churches in general. For example, growing up I remember a church picnic being simply a picnic where everyone brought a dish, played games, sang and had fun. Now, some church picnics have become a big production with catering, moon bounces, bands, the works! Do people enjoy this type of picnic? Absolutely, but is our focus remaining on God and fellowship or has it shifted to the event itself?
There is so much work required behind the scenes involving committees, budgets, and event planning that it seems as though we’ve lost the simplistic nature of pure fellowship. I have nothing against hosting a large event, but if you find yourself becoming agitated with your brother or sister in Christ on a committee call, or tensions are high, and feelings are hurt I think it is time to rethink if these events are building up our family or tearing it down. Too often, I’ve witnessed relationships become fractured when there is a church activity. Someone feels as though they are overworked, another person feels excluded, another feels taken for granted and in the end the event that was supposed to bring unity has brought dissension.
Is the performance factor slipping its way into the Lord’s house? I don’t know, but I do have a sense that church members are becoming overwhelmed (I’ll admit I’ve been there). When we’re overwhelmed we become stressed and that energy has the potential to manifest in some not so loving ways. Am I saying stop serving or the church shouldn’t host events? Absolutely not! We would do our church family a disservice if we had the ability to serve and use our gifts and decided to hold back. However, instead of getting caught up in the performance factor and the outcome let’s get caught up in glorifying the Lord. Let’s encourage one another, use our gifts, give one another grace, prayerfully determine how we can contribute, and know that it isn’t the event it is the relationship and the fellowship for the glory of God that should be our focus and our goal.