Serving is a powerful thing. Something happens when you serve. Things change. You change. You see others change. When you serve others you join in the mission of God, the mission He sent His Son Jesus to accomplish. Jesus “came not to be served but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). There is nothing more rewarding than joining Jesus on His mission to heal the world.
Paul closes his letter to Titus, at this time a young pastor serving the churches on the island of Crete, with these instructions:
The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people…And let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful. (Titus 3:8, 14)
This word “unfruitful” is used throughout the New Testament in other contexts in a figurative way referring to “moral, mental, or spiritual barrenness, useless or unproductive.” Paul tells Titus, “Get Christians serving, so that they don’t become useless or unproductive.” It’s a pretty straight-forward challenge.
As a pastor, I feel a consistent internal pressure to equip, train, and mobilize people in service to God. I pray for people to become awakened to the gift of serving others. I read everything I can get my hands on that will make me a more effective communicator, motivator, and equipper. I also work to challenge my staff and key volunteers with God’s vision for our church and a strong sense of purpose in serving on the mission of Jesus in our culture.
One book I picked up recently that was a good motivational piece in this regard is The Volunteer Revolution by Bill Hybels. Written in 2004, it’s a classic Hybels book, filled with first hand accounts of people who changed their world through serving. He sums up his major theme in the closing pages:
“The title of this book calls for a volunteer revolution. Every revolution demands revolutionaries, high-spirited people who dream of a day when things will be different, better. But revolutionaries do more than dream. They give their best to their cause. They relentlessly serve the collective effort. Imagine what would happen in our world if hundreds of thousands of people—and eventually millions—decided to devote just a few hours each week to generating a wave of good works that would put faith into action and spread goodwill and alleviate suffering.”
This was an inspiring read, and if you’re in any form of leadership in a context that calls for volunteer recruitment, mobilization, or support, this book is a must.