Equipped to Serve

One of my favorite things about MOPS has been the group devotionals that we have to start every leadership meeting.   Because of homeschooling, I have not been able to be involved with a weekly morning Bible study.  So our bimonthly devotionals have filled a little bit of that gap for me.  This year, part of the focus has been on spiritual gifts.   Due to the complexity of that topic, I am not even going to attempt to break that down for you.   But, the one thing I am sure of is this – God has gifted each Christian with a supernatural ability for one main reason.

Ephesians 4:11-13  (NIV)

11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

After serving those who are in your home, I am strongly convinced that the next place to begin making an impact is in your church.  That is right – your church.  Not MOPS.  This is from the woman who has been actively involved in MOPS leadership in some fashion for six years.  I love MOPS and have been blessed (and hopefully been a blessing) through this organization.  But, while I have been serving at MOPS, I also have been involved in my own church.

I grew up at First Free and still consider the church to be my “home base.”  In fact if you do not have a church, I would highly recommend starting there!  But my husband and I have been called to be a part of a small church down the street.  We knew that we wanted to be a part of ministry and felt that by attending a smaller place, we would have to become more involved (little did we understand exactly how much!)  I am all for the programs and opportunities that abound at big churches, but I also can see the danger where one could seek out the blessing while forgetting to be one in return.

How are you serving others at your church?  No matter what your spiritual gift is (and even if you have not really determined what that is), there is a place for you to care for the church.  God does not want us to just to feed (by hearing His Word) and then leave.  God wants us to be a part of the body of Christ at a local fellowship of believers.  I do think how we are involved will not always appear the same, depending on the ages of your children.

I have been able to be more of a part of MOPS ministry than I have our church’s women’s ministry at times due simple logistics.  MOPS meets during the day (a time when I am more flexible), and many of our women’s activities are night (a time when I generally need to be home).  But I have tried to continue to attend events when I can and have instead played an active role in our children’s ministry.

The easiest place to start being involved for you also might be just that – being where your children are.  Do you help in some way with the children’s ministry at your church?  Do you take a turn in the nursery?  Maybe your children are so little (and in my case were so many) that thought overwhelms you.  Decide to help behind the scenes right now and then help in the nursery for a few years when your kids are older (you might need a baby fix then! 🙂  ) Instead, ask how you can serve from home.  Cutting out Sunday school materials, assembling projects and washing baby linens are a few places to start.  Or volunteer to come during an off time and disinfect toys.  If you are allowed to use a vinegar/water solution, your children could even help you.

Cleaning is another great way to serve that can be done behind the scenes.  Even if your church has a janitorial staff, there are always extra organizing or cleaning projects they can probably never get to.  Little churches especially rely on volunteers to function – tell them how much time you have to give (so that you are not all of the sudden faced with a full-time volunteer position),  and they will gladly give you that much to do.

Since you probably would not read pages and pages of ideas on how to serve at your church, I will stop there (for now 🙂 ) But, I am convinced that when we are involved in ministering to others, we will blessed as well.  Purpose is a good thing to have, especially when your days of being a mom to preschoolers can be a bit repetitive and monotonous at times.  As we minister to others, we will discover new joy in our own walks.

P.S. If you are curious about learning more about spiritual gifts, I highly encourage you to talk to one of the mentors.  They can help you to start the process of discerning which areas God has supernaturally gifted you.  I did find some good websites with some helpful information on spiritual gifts, but I would highly encourage you to delve into the process with another Christian friend/mentor.   This is one time when I feel we need the godly discernment of wise believers to help us focus on the path God has for us and not get stuck on different tangents.