If we want people to worship through serving, we need to examine our methods for how we develop servants in the local church. With some exceptions, we can expect the level of involved worship in our Sunday service teams to be equal to the level of effort spent equipping them. Yet it must be said that equipping people to serve means not just providing them with schedules and tools. The primary aspect in equipping the church to serve is a continual focus on the Gospel and how it pertains to service. Unfortunately, it most churches Sunday administration is often only about organization not application.
How can we organize services to allow for the context for serving as worship? To do this, the church needs to focus on providing more Gospel application. In other words, we need gospel-focused organization. If we skip this step, we have failed to serve our teams despite how much organization and structure we give them. The goal in providing both organization and structure is to not just to provide for the practical needs of the church. It also about communication and expression of the nature of God’s love and grace.
Service teams are the best way to achieve this goal. Service teams allow members to not only better understand the tasks needed to be performed; it also trains them in how to apply the Gospel to their tasks. Teams are vehicles through which their members practically demonstrate and fulfill the purposes of serving. Here tasks are defined, assigned, and carried out in an organized manner with an understanding of the Gospel’s affects them. Application combined with administration is the most effective way to sustain a healthy grasp on Biblical servanthood.
In the book of 1st Peter chapter 4 verse 10 states “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:” So like a forward in soccer needs a goal net to provide context for a score, the serving gifts need context within the church to be effective in worshipping God. As the church provides ways to serve, whether it is valet parking or handling out bulletins, the church is simultaneously giving contexts to its members to be good stewards of God’s varied grace. The church and any ministry team inside of it provide a foundation for people to exercise their gifts.
Teams generally can accomplish much more with greater efficiency and better quality than individual people alone can achieve. Individuals cannot serve beyond their own single capacity, but teams can focus multiple resources and methods to bear on a particular problem.
Teams facilitate idea sharing and problem solving that quickly serve the church and in doing so serve the various team members so that they can serve the church more effectively. The service team not only provides a context to exercise gifts but facilitates them as well. It can facilitate serving by developing and providing focus for the gifts of church members to glorify God through serving. A team in itself is not the goal, glorifying God is. A team is however highly beneficial and effective in allowing people to glorify God by developing and using their God-given gifts.
Within the context of the service team, a whole manner of gifts can be exercised and encouraged. Team leaders can use their knowledge and care to help develop and train new leaders. Teams can train new members using their experience and knowledge. They also ensure the continuity and consistency of service provided by the church in scheduling people to serve and finding replacements if someone cannot make it on Sunday.
We can use organization to equip church members to serve more effectively. The service team accomplishes these purposes by first forming contexts to apply God’s word, and then facilitating the purposes of serving. However the primary means of equipping people to serve is to help them focus their hearts and minds on God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The team as a group should regularly have focused time reflecting on the Gospel and highlighting where the Gospel has impacted the church through serving.
We must be ever diligent to keep our focus on the primary importance of the Gospel, for as Paul explains in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.” By using organization and tools like job descriptions we can effectively equip our people to focus on God when they are serving.
An organized team structure is not the final step in serving; it merely facilitates worship. We must now use our organization to focus our worship to God and for the benefit of others. In the big picture the Christian life is not about how well organized or structured things are, nor how many serving teams we have. Instead, the Christian life should be based on setting our faith, our church, and our ministries on the foundation of God’s Word. That means resting in Christ’s work on the Cross and in not our ability to organize.
The church provides the needed context to serve and plays a vital role in equipping people to serve. God grants us the ability to apply gifts like structures and organization to help local the church glorify Him and spread the Gospel more so than they could individually. In the big picture, the hallmark of Christian life is not about how well organized or structured (or for that matter how spontaneous) the church is. Rather it is whether we have built our faith, our church, and our ministries on the foundation of the Gospel.