• Will Spink
    Senior Pastor
  • Wyketa Shipman
    Executive Assistant
  • Ron Clegg
    Associate Pastor, Discipleship
  • Shannon Clark
    Administrative Assistant
  • James Parker
    Chief Musician
  • Peter Render
    Assistant Pastor, Youth/Families
  • Christine Betts
    Assistant Director, Youth/Families
  • Ty Commons
    Youth & Families Intern
  • Kim Delchamps
    Administrative Assistant
  • Derrick Harris
    Assistant Pastor, Shepherding & Young Families
  • Angela Sierk
    Director, Children's Ministry
  • Niña Banta Cash
    Director, Nursery
  • Robert Blevins
    Director, Community Development
  • Janice Crowson
    Director, Facilities/Finance
  • Daniel Brown
    Print & Digital Media Specialist
  • General Contact
    For all other purposes
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Pastor’s Note

Saying Yes (or No) to Serving Opportunities

Is it merely over-spiritualizing to say that God has at Southwood the exact people He wants with the exact strengths and weaknesses, gifts and experiences? Not from the perspective of I Corinthians 12. In that chapter Paul talks about the body of Christ and the fact that God has arranged a bunch of different parts (eyes, ears, hands, etc.) with diverse gifts into one body. Each part of the body has unique roles and functions underneath the one head, Jesus Christ, and God has arranged them all—“just as He wanted them to be.”

This wonderful truth has corporate implications, but I’ve been thinking lately about the individual implications, in that each member of the church has an important role to play and, at the same time, cannot do everything. For instance, it would be very unhelpful for the member rocking a baby to try to mow a lawn for the Evolve program at Lincoln Village at the same time—dangerous! Neither are many people who love arranging beautiful flowers or fixing broken doors behind the scenes eager to teach a Sunday School class (and the senior pastor is terrible at arranging flowers and fixing broken doors!).

A better design (and seemingly a more biblical one) is for each member to use the gifts and follow the callings he has been given passionately and joyfully while allowing others to serve in other places. God has called all of us to be conduits of his grace, who aren’t merely consumers of his blessing but share it with others. All of us are called to pray, all of us are called to give financially in some way, and all of us are called to love our neighbors. In addition, every member of the church has unique gifts and must use them within or beyond the walls of the church—or they and we are weaker without them! So, listen carefully when volunteer opportunities are communicated, because one may be the place for you to serve, even if you never have before. Better yet, come talk with a pastor about where you can use your gifts in the body.

On the other hand, while we are all necessary somewhere, none of us is necessary everywhere. While some of us should say “yes” to meeting a need, others of us should say “no.” If you hear an announcement for Jobs for Life volunteers this fall and say “no” because you are volunteering at your kids’ school, hosting your neighbors in your home, and serving every Sunday in the children’s ministry, you shouldn’t go home with a guilt trip. God has called and gifted another part of the body to serve in that role with Jobs for Life.

Nearly every Sunday I stand up and tell you about ways you can serve or needs with a particular ministry or event. Perhaps you have sat there and had the thoughts and felt the emotions I, too, have sat in those pews and thought and felt: “What a great idea—I’m so glad to hear we’re doing that! A good Christian would volunteer. Yep, I probably should. Oh, I really can’t that weekend. I’m such a terrible person. I’ll volunteer twice next time. Oh, I feel awful saying no!”

I hope the truth of God’s design of the body will allow you to hear a volunteer opportunity or a ministry in need of help, and think not “Guilt trip” but rather think, “Is this where God is calling me to serve with joy?” Not every opportunity requires deep engagement; only 15 of us are spending two weeks in Peru this summer, but many others are equipping, giving to, and praying for that team. Because we are relationally driven, however, many of our serving opportunities are designed to jump in with both feet in the lives of our neighbors here and around the world. Look and listen for that place or those places where you can jump in with both feet. Don’t be on the sidelines missing out. Serve joyfully. Invest deeply in people. Sacrifice your own comfort and ease. Pour yourself out for the sake of others.

Say “yes” joyfully to opportunities God puts before you to share his love with others and serve your significant role in his body. And sometimes say “no” joyfully, too. And then watch the body of Christ work exactly the way God designed it—“as each part does its work.”