Getting off track: 5 Enemies to Service in the Church

Recently I was asked the question as to why there is a reluctance for people to serve in the church. Here are some ideas in response to this question:

  • Misdirected Priorities are enemies to service – We run the risk of making good things ultimate things and seek to find our satisfaction in stuff, pleasure or achievement rather than in the God who loves us and gave himself for us. One of my favorite C. S. Lewis quotes is from his essay, The Weight of Glory. In that essay Lewis indicates that we are like children making mud pies in a slum when we are offered a holiday at the sea. We should find our delight in God and in serving him. Yet, too often, we can be too busy and too distracted to be available for service.
  • Comfort is an enemy to service– The point is that too often we are not willing to get out of our comfort zone and try new things. The answer to this is try something new and if it doesn’t work out, so what! You’ve really got nothing to loose other than the blessing of finding out that that new thing is something you enjoy.
  • Feeling unqualified is an enemy to service– Let’s be honest here. None of us are qualified in ourselves for ministry or service. We all fall short of our own expectations. Yet, if you are called to a ministry, God will equip you to do it. He will use that ministry experience to stretch you and grow you into the person he wants you to be.
  • Pride is an enemy to service– The opposite of feeling unqualified would be feeling over qualified for a ministry that needs to be done. Pride might cause me to be unwilling to be in a situation where my skills are inadequate. Pride might prompt me to avoid a ministry where I might fail and look stupid (in my own mind). Pride might cause me to avoid doing a service that does not fully utilize my skills yet needs to be done. The solution is to repent and do the thing that God is calling you to do.
  • Fear is an enemy of service – It could be fear of failure, fear of not knowing what to do, fear of looking stupid (see comments on pride above), it could even be fear of personal safety. Yet, if God is calling you to do it, he will protect you. Also, with regard to fear of failure, I would offer this advice. Use the “so what?” question. If I fail at this “so what?” The result of failure is often exaggerated by the fear.

What else would you add to the list? Please add your ideas as a comment.

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About Mark McIntyre

A follower of Jesus Christ who shares observations about how Scripture should impact the church and the world. Mark is the original author and editor of Attempts at Honesty.

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3 Comments on "Getting off track: 5 Enemies to Service in the Church"

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3 years 10 months ago
Any Spirit-filled church I’ve ever been to always needs help. And they want help. The leaders want believers to grow in their faith to the point that they desire to serve God and His people. They encourage people to get involved because it’s in the close fellowship that we really do grow spiritually. And I agree with you on the reasons people don’t. And unfortunately, in my experience, that’s the majority of the people. It’s the 20/80 principal, 20% of the people do 80% of the work. It shouldn’t be that way, but it is. When people truly come to… Read more »
16 years 8 months ago

i think you missed it mark. i am sorry to disagree. i think broadman had a book sarcastically named the bonsai church of how trust no-one with a pulse clerics really don't want too many to serve and would rather hire the out-of-state stranger hireling to do it because dealing with volunteers is too frustrating. i believe they really do not want all that much help in the affluent US church. Just my experience that assimilation and raising young Timothies is so lacking.

16 years 8 months ago

Don't be sorry to disagree, I am under no delusion that I have this all figured out.

I can't speak for all of Christendom, but I can say that our church wants and needs volunteers to do much of the ministry.

Paul talks about this in Ephesians 4:12 where he says that the goal of the leaders in the church should be to "prepare God's people for works of service (NIV)."