*This was a recent sermon preached at SSFBC and the sermonic elements remain.
The church can be a cruise liner, offering Christian luxuries for the whole family – sports, entertainment, childcare services, business networking, and weekly worship services. The church can exist to meet the needs of members.
The church can also be a battleship made for mission. This is better than the cruise liner, but it implies that it is the church institution that does the hard work.
Perhaps the church should be better seen as an aircraft carrier. Like battleships, aircraft carriers engage in battle, but not in the same way. Aircraft carriers equip planes to carry the battle elsewhere.
We are not called to stay and stay comfortable. Rather, we are called to go and be obedient.
Join me in reading Acts 20:22-24. (Today we are concluding our sermon series on the discipleship strategy of SSFBC. In the first week we discussed the need to make disciples. In the previous two weeks we’ve looked at gather and grow. Today we come to go.)
Go … Be a servant.
In our focal passage this morning, the Apostle Paul demonstrates the attitude of a servant. He wants nothing but faithfulness to God. He wants nothing but opportunity to testify to God’s grace. Even if that includes prison and hardships. He will gladly face prison and hardship if that’s where the Holy Spirit leads.
Where is the Holy Spirit leading you?
I’m afraid many of us don’t want the seat of a servant. Rather, we want the seat in the corner office. We want the pedestal of prestige and popularity.
Yet, Jesus calls us to something greater, even if it looks lesser in the eyes of the world:
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. – Mark 10:45
“Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant” – Matthew 20:26
Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” – Luke 9:23
I want people who will join with me in the life of servanthood. I want people who will echo Paul’s words: “I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me.”
We have a church of roughly 900 people each Sunday. Give me 100 people who want nothing but to be a servant. Scratch that! Give me 50. No. Give me 25 and we’ll change Hopkins County in the name and image of Jesus Christ.
Be a servant.
Go … Serve inside the church.
This is not merely a recruitment tool. This is not an act of self-preservation. Rather, this is the starting point. The church functions as a training facility. It is among the church that you realize your identity in Jesus Christ, realize your God-given gifts, and begin to put those God-given gifts to work.
Inside the church is a safe place to gather, grow, perhaps fail, and grow some more.
If you feel gifted in an area – jump in and serve.
If you don’t feel gifted in an area but want to serve in some capacity – jump in and serve.
This can range from high commitment areas like teaching a New Life Journey Class, serving on a regular basis at the ROC, coaching an Upward basketball team, and so much more.
It can also include shorter commitments like volunteering at VBS, serving as a sponsor on any of our camp trips, or helping out with one-time events.
My pastoral heart was thrilled – I mean thrilled – when I showed up last Saturday to Breakfast with Pastor Jeff. I walked into the kitchen and saw a crew of church members cooking sausage, bacon, eggs, biscuits, and gravy. I wasn’t excited about the food. I was excited about the servants. Among the team, minus one couple, all the other volunteers were members that have joined since I became pastor nine months ago. Serving inside the church can look like many things – including cooking bacon.
We routinely have our “Say Yes!” campaign which alerts you to areas in which we need more volunteers. But don’t wait until the next “Say Yes!” – jump in and serve now.
The church is a training facility for serving elsewhere. If you don’t serve here, you’re likely to not serve elsewhere.
Go … Serve outside the church.
In our focal passage this morning, the Apostle Paul demonstrates the attitude of a servant. He wants nothing but faithfulness to God. He wants nothing but opportunity to testify to God’s grace.
The greatest opportunities to testify to God’s grace await us outside of the campus of SSFBC.
Outside the campus of SSBC is the mission field of the servants of Jesus Christ. This year we will have a number of mission trips offered to train you for a life of mission:
- El Paso Mission Trip (Sun City Church)
- Milwaukee Mission Trip
- Lakeview Baptist Encampment ongoing mission projects
- Disaster Recovery Mission Trip
- MS & HS Work Camp Mission Project
Information on all those trips is coming your way soon but back to Acts 20:22-24. I don’t believe testifying to God’s grace should be limited to church sponsored mission trips. To be honest, I don’t even believe it’s the best way to testify to God’s grace. Mission trips are a powerful training ground for you to testifying to God’s grace in your neighborhood or in your workplace.
We must serve outside the church. We began this series with the call to make disciples from the passage we know as the “Great Commission.” In that passage we are called to go and make disciples of all nations. “All nations” includes your neighbor and your coworker.
Who will best reach them? That’s right. You. No one will send a mission team to your neighborhood. No one will send a mission team to your workplace. In the week to come, how can you serve your neighbor or coworker in the name of Jesus?
We have a church of roughly 900 each Sunday. Give me 100 people who want nothing but to be a servant. Scratch that! Give me 50. No. Give me 25 and we’ll change Hopkins County in the name and image of Jesus Christ.
*Illustration in introduction is well-used. It can be found in JD Greear’s Gain by Losing among other places.