How Can I Serve?
One of my favorite questions to hear from our church is “How can I serve?”
I love this question because it seems to grasp the meaning of church membership —
that we are not spectators, but participants, each different members of the same body;
that we are in this thing together as active players in God’s unfolding drama of redemption;
that the “work of ministry” belongs to the saints, and the building up of the body of Christ is on us all.
Paul says all this, of course (see 1 Cor. 12:12–26; 1 Cor.10:11; Eph. 4:11–16), and these are things that never stop. They can’t be contained to an hour or so on Sunday mornings. A lot of times, though, the question of serving is in reference to our worship services — and there is a category for that. We have a lot of needs on Sundays, and we need a lot of help.
Beware Maintenance Bloating
In fact, one thing that becomes increasingly difficult as a church grows is that its internal needs increase — and sometimes that increase is disproportionate to the increase of help — and before long, unless the church is intentional, it will become an institution concentrated on self-maintenance, not mission.
We are very aware of this as a pastoral team, and we have tried to set up our structures in a way to avoid this type of maintenance bloating. This goes back to when we first planted in 2014. We envisioned a church with a simple discipleship structure, not a buffet of programs. Ministry initiatives should be grassroots, branching out from the saints doing ministry in real life, not because a pastor thought of something and held an event.
This means that serving typically stays as basic as the structure. And just for a refresher, this is how we do it at Cities Church. . . .
Our essentials — the things we really really care about — is Jesus, one another, and the Cities. Our values line up with our identity, because as disciples of Jesus we are:
worshipers of Jesus,
servants like Jesus, and
missionaries with Jesus.
Therefore, living out this identity means we:
serve one another, and
seek the good of the Cities.
And we do that in the basic structures of:
And that’s pretty much it. Everything we do comes from within those three structures, and as for serving the church, it takes place there too. If we were to breakdown how that looks for us right now, it’s something like the below.
Ways to Serve at Cities Church
Worship (Sunday mornings)
Pre-service Sunday School
Childcare during service
Set-Up and decor
administration of the Word and sacraments
A/V needs during service
Operating the slides during service
Coffee and refreshments
regular meetings with our Life Groups where we engage one another’s stories, listen well, and speak the truth in love
women’s discipleship events and initiatives
men’s discipleship events and initiatives
discipleship initiatives for children and youth
regular meetings with our Community Groups where we are grounded in the gospel and propelled out in mission
various forms of service within Community Groups in addition to being a CG leader, such being missional leaders, prayer leaders, host leaders, and hospitality leaders.
everyday life lived with community and gospel intentionality
events and initiatives to connect with neighbors
service projects to bless our neighborhoods
There are more details to mention, but this is off the top of my head. Basically, though, the best way to serve the church is to be active in all three discipleship structures. Be present in your Life Group; collaborate and share ownership in your Community Group; and make Sunday mornings a fountain to drink from for the rest of the week, whether that means you’re lifting your heart and voice to sing, discipling children, or greeting folks as they walk in.
In summary, how do we serve at Cities Church? Answer: be active in all three discipleship structures.
This is the first article in a new series called “Four Years In,” which is reflections and refreshers on where we are as a church, and where we’re headed.