According to the Bible, every Christian has been given at least one spiritual gift to use in service to the body of Christ. “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 4:10–11; compare Ephesians 4:11–16). So, an important step in determining how to best serve in the church is for us to discover what our spiritual gifts are. Of course, we don’t have to know what our gift is before we start getting involved in the church. In fact, we often discover our gifts in the process of serving. The spiritual gifts are listed in Romans 12:6–8 and 1 Corinthians 12:4–11, 28.
There is a difference between the Body of Christ universal (1 Corinthians 12:12–13) and the local church Christians attend for corporate worship (Hebrews 10:25). But there is no difference in how Christians ought to use their spiritual gifts, because serving God is a twenty-four-hour proposition, not a Sunday-only enterprise. All Christians everywhere should be serving God in their local churches and looking for opportunities to serve outside the walls of a church building (2 Corinthians 9:12–13). It may be difficult to discover which spiritual gift(s) God has bestowed, but it’s better to serve somewhere than nowhere (Romans 12:11). Often, the discovery of gifts becomes more clear in the doing—as we serve in various jobs, we learn what we are good at and what we have a heart for (1 Chronicles 28:9).
There are always more needs than willing workers; this was true in Christ’s day and is still true today (Matthew 9:37). It’s never a problem to find a need in the local church. From evangelizing the community (which all Christians are called to do, Acts 1:8) to cleaning the bathrooms, there is always plenty of work to be done. It is good to inquire of the church leadership regarding the needs of the church. Have a conversation with the pastor and elders about what jobs are open and how they may or may not be suited for you.
Here are a few examples of positions of service in local congregations:
• Sunday School and Bible study teachers (once vetted)
• Children and youth leaders
• Janitors and maintenance workers to upkeep the building and grounds
• Transportation workers for children or others unable to drive
• Outreach workers
• Ushers and greeters
• Choir members and soloists
• Music directors, song leaders, etc.
• Audio and video technicians
• Website administrators and social media coordinators
• Treasurers and accountants
• Kitchen workers
• Nursery workers
Every member of every church should be serving in some way, and every servant of the Lord should remember that it’s more than just serving others; it’s loving them: “Serve one another humbly in love” (Galatians 5:13). Serving the church can take on many forms: babysitting for a young couple to give them a night out, preparing a meal for a family struck by illness, visiting an elderly, housebound widow, or just picking up a phone and saying, “I was thinking about you today.” Christians may busy themselves in tasks of service like the ones listed above, but endless performing, without love, is meaningless (1 Corinthians 13:1–3). As we go about serving God and others, let us do so with a spirit of humility and brotherly love (Philippians 2:1–4).