This month I am going to share a devotional I recently presented to the Lay Ministry meeting at Camp Sumatanga in March of 2014.
The title of the devotional was “Chosen to Serve.”
From John 15: 12-17
“Jesus the True Vine.”
This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for my friends. You are my friends if you do as I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you as him in my name. I am giving you these commands so you may love one another.
My first question to the Lay Ministry Team Lay Leaders was
“How did you begin to serve the church?”
Did your journey begin when you heard the call from Jesus?
Hear again Jesus’s words:
“You did not choose me but I chose you.”
Or better, did you hear the call through someone who heard the call for you?
Probably the latter answer covers most of us.
At the end of this devotional I’m going to invite you to retrace your steps as to how you arrived in leadership in the church.
Be thinking, as you read this devotional, how you got into leadership. Each of you will have one minute to tell how your steps with Christ evolved into leadership.
Lets’ discuss some of the ways people hear the call to serve.
We all know by now, how Jesus can call us and how he will not let up until we answer yes or we turn our backs on him. But make no mistake; Jesus still loves us, even when we don’t answer yes. Jesus is persistent as well.
It’s evident, time is on the side of God and therefore he can wait as long as necessary for us to answer the way he wants us to.
Maybe someone in the church; the minister or a Lay Person came to you and asked, have you ever thought about serving as a Board member or on some committee?
Or how about the following, Have you ever thought about using your talents to lead a Committee?, Become an usher, sing in the choir, teach Sunday school, start a small group, or be on a Team in the Team Process or really just be more involved?
We know the question; now let’s discuss some of the excuses for saying no to these that ask, including God.
If you are like me, you can identify, as I have personally used all the excuses to say no, at one time or another to God.
Here are some of the excuses;
What do you think the most often used excuse is?
I don’t have the time...
It’s always been said “Give a busy person the job if you want it done promptly and correctly.”
Better still I don’t’ want to take the time.
Now that’s the selfish answer.
I am not worthy.
We know that’s a cope out.
Someone else can do a better job. I am not qualified.
Another cop out!
I don’t like to speak in front of a group.
You don’t mind yelling at the Auburn and Alabama game or even the TV when you are watching the game at home, so we know that’s not a good excuse.
I don’t know enough about Wesleyan Methodism to be a leader in the Church, District or let alone the Conference.
We each know enough to lead a Committee in the Church.
Now here is my personal confession I have used, to say no many times:
I’m too flawed and have too much baggage to serve. Or again I’m not worthy! Or don’t have the time.
Just look at the Disciples, how worthy were they? And Jesus used them to change the world.
Remember, we were not called to be perfect, just called to serve, nothing more or nothing less.
It’s not your ability but your availability that God is looking for.
This is hard to believe but it’s true for many of us; however flawed we feel personally, once we get into leadership, our fellow Christians or potential Christians see us as having the leadership qualities they wish they had.
It’s hard to believe we set an example when we least try to.
To think, God uses weak, earthen vessels like us to perform his Christian Service!
(Well it’s time for each of you to tell how you got here)
I will go first, and as hard as it will be, I have my answer down to just one minute. So here goes...
I was raised in the church with Christian parents. I also never had any doubt about the difference in right and wrong according to the Methodist Church and my parents, From day one, I was involved in the areas of being out front in the form of Children choirs, Sunday school skits, plays, sports and other regular school activities involving talking to an audience. Therefore, when I became old enough to serve and lead it came somewhat natural.
My greatest confession, is my guilt feelings,
That I am not doing enough for God? Only God can give that answer, yet I anguish about it a lot.
As an example; I have always said you have to teach Sunday school long enough that you don’t feel guilt about not teaching.
And this is probably true about other areas of Christian service as well.
This is my one minute story and I’m sticking to it.
Now it’s your turn: Look in the mirror and see if you can, in one minute tell how you got into leadership. It will give you a different perspective of leadership qualities in your life, it did me.
Your minute starts now!
Grace, peace and blessings for a great spring,
Conference Lay Leader