Sunday, March 30, 2008

Groove is in the Heart

If you have been reading my blog for very long you know that I like to volunteer. At church, at my kids school and in my neighborhood.

The crazy thing is that I really do enjoy volunteering. I enjoy being helpful and serving others and not getting a dime in return. I don't do it out of guilt but rather because I want to.

I actually have always been a "helper" - even before becoming a Christ follower. So, for me, it is really hard to understand why when a need arises somewhere that people aren't just tripping over themselves to help out.

I realize that much of the reason I volunteer is my personality and not everyone feels the same way about helping out or even really thinks about it. It is not as if their intention is bad, they just don't think about it.

I know others that really think that taking care of their family is about all they can handle. And for some it is. I just happen to be one of those crazy people that takes on a lot and gets my whole family involved! When I help out somewhere, my family is not exempt from being a part of that and honestly, I think it is the best thing I teach my kids. Take care of others. I mean, that is what Jesus told us to do, right?

Then there is the part of me that serves because...well... because God calls me to serve. Now if you have been called by God to do something then you get what I am talking about. If not, you can just think I am a flake of some sort, but I am hear to tell you that God speaks (Jeremiah 3:33) and I listen. Not audibly, but through others, through an idea that just won't go away, through scripture, a song, a story, an email - well, he'll use just about anything to get our attention.

So anyway this is where it becomes both simple and complicated to me. Jesus came to serve, not to be served, right? He tells us we should do the same. Simple.

So, we get up on Sunday morning to go to church to worship Jesus. And when we go someone leads us to a parking place, drives a shuttle bus, teaches our kids, ushers us to an empty seat, leads us in song, performs a drama, delivers a powerful message, makes us a cup of coffee, teaches a class or cooks a meal for our family to enjoy. Here we are - being served!!!! Over and over again, being served by the body of Christ. Now as a new believer or someone who is not yet a member of this body, then yes, yes, yes - come and be served.

But if someone is already in this body, then they should be serving too, right? Then why don't they? That's the complicated part for me to understand.

Plus, in my own experience, I have grown so much in my walk with God by serving, gotten to know more people at my church and had so much fun!!!! Okay, so that is my soapbox. I will come down now. It's not like most of you go to my church and those that read this probably already serve at my church. Mostly, I am just trying to gain some understanding of that whole deal.

This little rant was sparked by being at church today where they had a volunteer expo. It was so fun and colorful. And GROOVY...The leaders and volunteers were dressed from the 60's. Y'all - I am here to tell you that I go to a F-U-N - Fun church!!! Anyway, we are beginning a 4th service and need more volunteers.

When we walked in, I was so distracted by all the colors that my husband was quick to grab my arm and direct me to KidCity (kids ministry) to drop off our kiddos. I fear, and obviously he did too, that I would have wandered off into a sea of tie dye to sign up for more ministries!

I was telling my friend Russ that the last thing I needed was one more thing to do at church, but then after the service, I was stopping by booths to see what else I could do!!!

I have seen that saying on cups and plaques, "Stop me before I volunteer again!" That's me! (So, why can't I stop volunteering, but others can't even begin?)

But here is the thing - I love my church. I LOVE God. I want to be a part of what God is doing at my church!

So, my thinking is this - if God wants me to serve somewhere else in my church then we will work it out.

Hmmm. I have been here before.

This is the way my prayer goes, "Lord, where do you want me? Do I have room for one more thing? Will you help me sort out my current activities so that I can serve my community again? Or will you say no? Will you shut this door so I can focus on the ministry that I am currently leading, the family I am currently caring for and increase the time I need to spend with you? Show me, Lord. Lead me where to go!! I anticipate hearing your answer!"

Now the trick here is not running to fill a need before I hear my answer. I might need one of you to pray for that and would very much appreciate it. :)


Cassie - Homeschooling Four said...

This is a very tough topic. I get so frustrated with the 10% of the people do 90% of the work thing.
I will say this is an area I am constantly re-evaluating. I completely believe that we are called to serve. I also believe that are level of serving and involvement outside our family changes over time. I had to realize a year ago that I just couldn't do all that I had been doing and continue to homeschool and be a homemaker.
Now, I know people who drop out completely of any ministry outside the home and I don't agree with that.
But I also know people who try to do more than they should and end up neglecting responsibilities at home.
It really comes down to listening to what God is calling you to do one step at a time.

Janel said...

Yes, I tend to take on too much and have to re-evaluate all the time.

One thing I have always tried to remember is that while someone can always replace me in ministry, nobody can replace me in my role as mommy and wife to my family.

I really want to be serving where God leads me to serve, though.

thanks Cassie for great advice - I always need reminders like this!

Mary Ann said...

"Officially" as Volunteer Director and even MORE OFFICIALLY as a Christ Follower, Mom, Wife, Daughter, know I just had to comment :)! Thank you Janel for your heart and sharing this extremly vital part of being in the body! My own experience of being served slapped my upside my head one day as I saw how people(not even related to US!) made a difference in my two boys. I knew without hesitation that I must give back somehow. I also remember wanting to to do more and more and more!! I also had to learn the hard lesson of focusing on where GOD wanted me to focus my time and talents and gift; rather Mary Ann..really tough for me because you know how wonderful, talented and gift I am!!! I mean...Giirlll... :) !HA!!

Thank YOU for serving in Kid City!! Dean always talks about how much a blessing you are to him and to the kids and I KNOW to the parents.

Your genuine love and care for other people is clearly evident and I praise the Lord that I get to know you and experience even a part of your heart!

Janel said...

Yay, Mary Ann is the OFFICIAL QUEEN of Volunteers at our church and I will tell you she does a AMAZING job! Simply amazing.

Thanks for commenting
and the reminder to serve where my gifts are.

And just where did you get those go go boots??? I love them!!!

Mary Ann said...

I actually found them online at
I just could NOT resist!! Now, everytime someone says..."What kind of theme shall we use?...well...You can "bet your sweet bippie" what I will vote for!!

Kim said...

I'm right there with you Janel - I don't know how to say no because I really like helping people out. And yes, it feels good to help others so to me its a necessary thing so I don't feel like my life is driven by work and home routine.
Keep up the good work!

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