Serving God Beyond Church Walls

Photo by Giuseppe Bognanni (Creative Commons)Photo by Giuseppe Bognanni (Creative Commons)The only way to serve God is to volunteer for a ministry at your church.

Agree or disagree?

Definitely, disagree!  And, yet, churches have a tendency to limit the way people can serve God to merely volunteering for service opportunities within the church or sponsored by the church.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with serving at your church.  A lot of wonderful ministry happens that way.

But we get into trouble when we start saying that serving at church is the only way to serve God.

The fact is, church members can serve God anywhere.  This includes their places of work, the neighborhoods where they live, the organizations in which they are involved, and so forth.

Not only that, followers of Jesus are called to serve God in whatever circumstances they find themselves—not just when they are participating in a church program.

The Priesthood of All Believers

The idea that God’s people can and should serve God anywhere and everywhere is connected to the concept of “the priesthood of all believers.”  In the New Testament, Peter says, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood,” thereby extending the role of priest from only a few who have been specially ordained to all of God’s people (1 Peter 2:9).

My own Presbyterian denomination states that the priesthood of all believers is the collective task to which “every member of the body [of Christ] is called [and it] is to be exercised in the daily life and work of Christians in the secular business of the world.”

In other words, the people of God are called to serve God everywhere.

Helping Church Members Discover this Reality

Neighborhood Connection Groups are one way of helping church members discover this reality.  They are designed to help raise people’s awareness that God is at work, not just in their church, but beyond the walls of their church.

And as church members grow in this awareness, Neighborhood Connection Groups can help people begin to see that God may be inviting them—and perhaps even their entire congregation—to participate with God in his ongoing ministry throughout the neighborhood.

How have you been able to serve God beyond the walls of your church?

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