I had the opportunity the other day to discuss with a local pastor the struggle to find folks to serve in the many capacities that young churches have. If done well, a single service can take as many as 25 people. If you do it with 2-3, someone is going to get burned out quickly. In areas like Raleigh and Garner, new churches are starting monthly in efforts to keep up with the population growth, so the big question becomes, “How do you find passionate folks who are willing to work in church?” Several things come to mind. The first is 1 Corinthians 15:57-58
But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
Resolutely, I Corinthians 15 lets us know that your passion for service in the Kingdom of God will only rise to your passion for Jesus. Any passionate activity on your part for the Church that exceeds your passion for Jesus is idolatry and service for self-promotion, self-glorification, and self-righteousness. You might be doing a good thing, but if you are not doing it for the glory of Christ and out of a love for Him, then your effort falls short…even if your effort results in lots of people showing up.
Don’t get me wrong. If you have made a commitment to serve, keep it. If you have promised to serve, do so. But pray that God gifts that service with a passion and love for the service. Blind devotion and obligation is the stuff cults are made of, not the stuff of the Kingdom. If we are not aware of this, if we judge busyness as passion, then several mistakes are made.
· We will mistake excitement, energy, and time for the love of Jesus.
· We will mistakenly promote others in the church because we judge their enthusiasm for ministry as passion for Jesus.
· We will fool ourselves into thinking that God is glorified by our actions when it is actually self that is glorified.
· We will incorrectly diagnose the church as healthy because it is busy.
What a shame it would be for so many churches to put forth so much effort to only discover that they did not do things in Jesus’ name but instead did them for their own glory. What worshipful fear should strike our hearts as we consider Jesus’ warning that some would hear, “Depart from me I never knew you.”
Working out of passion for Jesus with the desire to glorify Jesus ushers in the wonderful words, “‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”