I was recently talking to someone who attends our church about their need to serve. They faithfully come to church every Sunday, but don’t serve anywhere. They were very reluctant, citing that they would love to serve, but they were “too busy.”
The conversation prompted me to reflect on my own experience in the church just before making the decision to follow Christ and just after.
Back in 1998 my wife and I began to attend a church regularly for the first time. We loved it! It met in a movie theater, the music was awesome, and the speaking wasn’t bad either. After about a year, we attended a “Ministry Fair.” The Fair was an event that highlighted all the ways attendees could serve in the church. Being a “gadget guy” I was drawn to the Technical Arts booth, immediately connecting with the leader of the Tech Team. I said, sign me up! The following Sunday I began training on the soundboard, and it wasn’t long before I was running sound once a month. I also began to show up when I wasn’t on the schedule, knowing that they needed help … lots of setup and teardown!
Relative to my conversation the other day, I too was “busy.” I was a product line director for a major instrumentation manufacturer. My job included many 60+ hour weeks and lots of travel. But, I somehow found a way to be at church almost every Sunday to help out. Hmmm … I wasn’t even a Christ follower at that point. Being so busy working all the time, taking care of my family, etc. how (or why?) was I somehow able to serve my church?
Two years later in June of 2000, my wife and I made the decision to follow Christ and were baptized the last Sunday at that church before moving to Pennsylvania. I was moving my family in pursuit of a significant promotion to Vice President. This position not only offered me lots more money; it meant even more hours per week and more travel. So, I would now be even more “busy.”
Shortly after our move, being Christ followers and all, we found this new church that was about to begin having public services that fall. I remember showing up for the first night at Brian’s (our Senior Pastor) house for a Bible study/launch meeting. My wife and I walked into the house, got some food, met a bunch of new people, and immediately connected with the leader of the ministry in which we knew we would be serving. I remember finding the worship leader and asking, “So, do you have a sound guy yet?” He said that he had one other guy interested but that was it. I said, “I’m your guy, sign me up!” I told him that as long as I was around he wouldn’t have to worry about having the soundboard covered … that I would be there every Sunday to serve.
We had our first public service in the movie theater on Sunday, October 1, 2000. Since that time, I’ve been there every Sunday one way or another (busy life or not).
As a Christ follower I know as Bill Hybels puts it, “the local church is the hope of the world.” Knowing that, you couldn’t keep me from serving even if you tried. How did I come to know that? Aside from reading the Bible, really believing what I say I believe, and looking around on Sunday and seeing that there is much to be done, I guess I really don’t know.