The results are in: Ninety-plus of you have made personal commitments to serve the church! These various service pledges are at the core of our Missions Campaign, in which you also pledged 32% above our financial goal.
As I peruse the long list of ways you all would like to serve this church body, I’m so thankful, because it’s an important gauge of our church’s spiritual maturity. Philippians 2:4 says, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Whenever a Christian becomes others-oriented, (i.e. aware of, and interested in the needs of others around him/her), it is a HUGE milestone in that person’s spiritual journey and sanctification. Your service pledges are a powerful evidence of that!
Jesus instructed us to pray to the Lord of the harvest for laborers, and we’re thrilled that many of you have prayerfully risen to that call. The key question that many of you may be asking at this point, though, is, “Now what?”
That’s a challenging question to answer, as it involves the utilization of a wide variety of gifts, ministries, and effects, from saints of all ages, backgrounds, and availabilities. Sometimes, spiritual maturity must be taken into account, as in appointing someone to lead a small group. Sometimes, there needs to be an opening for someone to serve, such as in a particular worship band. And sometimes, a new ministry needs to be created where multiple people are committed to seeing it thrive. We pastors take your faith-inspired commitments very seriously, and are eager and excited to steward them to the glory of God. But it will take grace and patience on all our parts, and a fair amount of individual consultation and counsel to see them all realized.
That said, please don’t assume that your service pledge requires an official, formal ministry position within the church. Most of our gifts will best be utilized informally, on our own initiative, and within smaller contexts. For example, if you pledged to serve by visiting the sick in hospitals, you obviously don’t need any church endorsement to pursue that. But we can work to keep such a person informed and resourced for such opportunities. Or if hospitality interests you, you can alert the lead person of our church’s hospitality team, but you can also just start coming early on Sundays in order to meet and greet people apart from that official ministry. Small groups are another great context in which to informally exercise your gifting.
We intentionally have a very flat organizational structure in order to encourage personal initiative, experimentation, and creativity in all kinds of ministry. G.K. Chesterton once said, “The more I considered Christianity, the more I found that while it had established a rule and order, the chief aim of that order was to give room for good things to run wild.” Amen to that! We believe in and celebrate the priesthood of all believers, who are indwelt and led by the Holy Spirit. Much of our role as pastors is to support and resource you in all your good endeavors.
1 Corinthians 12:7 says, “To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” God himself orchestrates those opportunities and presents them to us—each of us. And we pastors are working to employ everyone’s gifts as well. Why? Because the latent, untapped power of the body of Christ is staggering!
Pledges cost. They cost our time, talents, or treasures. But every single thing that we do for Christ in this life is of eternal consequence—even down to the giving of a cup of cold water. Revelation 19:7-8 gives us a glimpse into our future, where Christ’s Bride (the Church) has “made herself ready” for marriage. How will we have made ourselves ready? Verse 8 gives the answer: “…it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure—for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.”
Brothers and sisters, we are saved solely by grace, but as we faithfully fulfill our service pledges in the coming days and years, we are actually clothing and beautifying our future selves for the day we will be wedded to Christ! Wow.
– Perry, on behalf of the Summitview pastors
“To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power,” 2 Thessalonians 1:11