Christian Living

To Be Served or to Serve Others

Consider Your Attitude toward Church and Your Motivation for Going

When I listen to people talk about church, I often hear what draws them in and what drives them away. They enthuse about programs for them and the youth group for their kids. They gush about the skill of the minister delivering inspiring sermons, the excellence of the worship team, and the size of the church. They never mention opportunities to serve others.

And when they leave a church or complain about the one they’re attending, two common phrases are “it’s not meeting my needs” and “I’m not being fed.” Never mind that it’s their job to feed themselves, and they shouldn’t expect church to do it for them. They attend church with a consumer mindset, but this is not what church is about.

To Be Served

In short, these folks desire for their church to serve them. That’s why they selected it, why they became members, and why they attend. And when the church falters in meeting their expectations, it’s also why they leave, often in a huff and complaining to anyone who will listen.

They expect something in return for their presence and for the money they give. They have a transactional perspective: “I show up and give you money so that you will give me something of greater value in return.” Seldom do they seek opportunities to serve others.

To Serve Others

Only once have I heard someone complain that their church provided no service opportunities for them. My friend quietly found a new church that provided options to serve others. The family quickly got involved and plugged in by serving others.

Not only is this an admirable attitude, but it’s also something Jesus modeled. Jesus didn’t expect others to serve him (though some chose to do so); he looked for ways to serve them. He taught them, healed them, and pointed them to the kingdom of God, all without expecting anything in return (Mark 10:45).

In the end, he died for them—and for us—covering our many failures (sins) to make us right with Father God and reconcile us to him. He gave his life for us, so that we could live with him forever (Matthew 20:26-28).

Jesus freely gave to serve others, and we should follow his example.

Read more about this in Peter’s thought-provoking book, Jesus’s Broken Church, available in e-book, audiobook, paperback, and hardcover.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.