Using our gifts and talents to serve God, the church and the world

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
-Ephesians 2:10

You have been given unique gifts and talents by God to be used in serving in His church. Even Jesus said of himself; “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” –Mark 10:45

God created each of us with a unique purpose. He equipped us with special personalities and skills so that we may advance His kingdom while we are here. The Bible refers to Christians as brothers and sisters of a family, or members of the same body (See 1 Corinthians 12). Each person does his or her part in serving so that the entire body might fulfill its purpose of bringing glory to God.

What does the Bible say about serving in the church? What are some ways I can serve? All of us at one time or another have probably come up with reasons for not serving such as:

  • I don’t have time.
  • I don’t know what I would do.
  • I don’t have any special skills to contribute.
  • They don’t need me.

The reality is the Lord doesn’t call the equipped; He equips the called.

God has used men and women with similar doubts to change the course of history. Moses didn’t think he was a leader or speaker (Exodus 4:10But Moses said to the Lord, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.”), but God worked through Moses to bring Israel out of slavery (Exodus 33:1The Lord said to Moses, “Depart; go up from here, you and the people whom you have brought up out of the land of Egypt, to the land of which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, ‘To your offspring I will give it.’). David was the youngest (and therefore most insignificant) of all his brothers, but God worked through David to defeat a giant (1 Sam. 17:49-50And David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone and slung it and struck the Philistine on his forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the ground.
So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him. There was no sword in the hand of David.
) and eventually made him a king. Paul used to persecute Christians before he met Jesus (Acts 8:3But Saul was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison.), but then became one of the most highly-regarded of all the Apostles.

According to the Bible, every Christian has been given spiritual gifts to use in service to the body of Christ. “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” -1 Peter 4:10–11.

Instead of serving with the idea of gaining God’s favor, a growing disciple serves simply to show gratitude for all that Christ has done for us.

How is this done?

  • Consider your spiritual gifts — We’ll thrive the most when we serve in a way that utilizes our spiritual gifts. Of course, we don’t have to know what our gift is before we get involved. In fact, we often discover our gifts in the process of serving.
  • Complete a Time & Talent Survey online. You can also take a chance by just jumping into an area to serve. We are all called to serve, and to do so with love (1 Corinthians 13:1–3If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.). When we serve out of love, God is glorified.
  • Start serving — Find that role in the church that fits your spiritual gifts, passions and skills. There is a lot of work to be done for the kingdom of Christ, but not enough people to do the work (Matthew 9:37Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few;”). So don’t be afraid to simply start serving; there is a place for you. As you serve, trust that God will equip you, guide you, and give you joy for the work. Find delight in doing the things He has planned for you. It may have to do with your daily vocation or may be unrelated. Get started knowing that it’s okay to ask for a change if you discover that how you’re serving is not a fit for you. Keep exploring.
  • Grow! — A disciple is one who is learning and growing. The goal of the All-in Discipleship Initiative is help you see God’s path of service for you. Is God calling you to greater responsibility and leadership to serve as an officer of the church? Is He calling you to grow in your understanding of the Bible to teach and witness to others? Is He calling you to ministry even as a called worker in the church? Ideally, disciples can look back on the recent past and see how their spiritual life has grown and how they now serve with more specialized skills. (See Table 1 on the next page.)
  • Make room for others — As you grow into new roles of service, the role you’re leaving opens a space for those who are following to serve. Sometimes it’s hard to stop doing something that you’ve been doing for a long time, but growth and change (!) are healthy.
  • Mentor others — Before moving to a greater role, be sure to mentor others to fill the position you’re leaving.

We need each other. All our gifts work together to make the ministry of St. Lucas effective in our community.

Table 1 – Here are some examples of service at St. Lucas, listed from general volunteers to those requiring specific skills:

  • VBS volunteers
  • Kitchen volunteers
  • Transportation workers for others unable to drive
  • Ushers, greeters, readers
  • Altar Guild
  • Building upkeep projects
  • Audio and video technicians
  • Sunday School teachers
  • Choir members and soloists
  • Children and youth leaders
  • Outreach workers
  • Musicians, song leaders, etc.
  • Children’s message leaders
  • Website administrators and social media coordinators
  • Treasurers and accountants
  • Leadership positions such as music directors, Council officers, ministry managers, professional staff
  • And more! Take a talent survey to see where you can fit in!