For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. (Romans 12:4-6a NIV)
Last month I had the privilege of working with our Middle School and High School students to prepare Creekside’s Good Friday Service. We gave the kids the basic framework that we were going to walk through a Seder (Passover) meal as the centerpiece of the service, but what that looked like was left completely up to them. They spent five weeks researching, planning, and practicing, and I think everyone who attended would agree it was an amazing service that was truly a unique experience. This year was not the first time our youth at Creekside have run the Good Friday service; the tradition started four years ago and was so successful we’ve kept it going ever since.
One of the things I love about Creekside is the opportunities we have for anyone and everyone to serve. Many churches would look at a service as significant as Good Friday and get wrapped up in the need for perfection, so that they’d be afraid to turn it over to the youth group. At Creekside, we are a church that has chosen to embrace the Biblical philosophy of letting everyone share their gifts with the congregation. All you have to do is look around Creekside on a Sunday morning and see the diverse people serving in various capacities. We have volunteers leading worship, teaching children, passing out bulletins, working the sound and video equipment, setting up coffee, and many more.
I think one of the great testimonies to the volunteer nature of our church is the way that we’ve continued to function as a church after the departure of all our full-time staff. It’s been amazing and humbling to watch the way that members of the congregation have stepped up and filled in needs per their gifts. As it says in Romans 12:6-8:
We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
In the article I wrote back in December, right after our senior pastor candidate had just declined our call and Noah had announced his acceptance of a call in Minnesota, I concluded the article by saying “Yes, this is going to be hard…God has a plan for our church, and it’s going to require hard work, but we’ll come out on the other side as a stronger, more real church that is better able to serve and reflect Christ to the world.” While hopefully we’re nearing the end of our current period between full-time senior pastors, I can say that I have seen our church grow stronger as members of our congregation have stepped in to fill the needs of the body of Christ. No job is too big, and no member of the congregation is too small, and we have the grace to allow all to serve to the best of their abilities.
Andrew can be reached by email here. Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/squeeksrocks/15828798485/.