I asked Laura Milner, the blog author of Strengthening the Chain to guest post on serving. You see, I have been on staff in the church world for 11 years and I needed fresh eyes on the subject. Laura is also a volunteer youth worker in California and an avid Twitter user. Thanks for reading and feel free to join the conversation.
I started volunteering in my high school youth group when I was 16 years old. I felt God's call on my life to serve and jumped in, I started leading games and being a part of the planning of our weekly meetings. It was one of the most life changing choices I ever made in my life and would set the tone for who I would become as an adult. And now 12 years, a marriage, 2 kids and 3 ministries later I can say that being a volunteer is one of the best decisions I have made in my life.
Now I could write a whole blog post on how volunteering can be hard and how I've been broken by God, how I've spent many sleepless nights thinking and praying for the teens I minister to, I could go on and on about how many times I've almost walked away from serving. But if you've been serving for any period of time you already know the struggles, I want to tell you is that serving made me who I am today and I wouldn't change that for anything.
Making the choice to serve as a life style has filled my life with adventure, friends, mentors and opportunities that I would have never had, had I not been a volunteer. Choosing at a young age to be a part of a ministry helped me survive my teens. If I wasn't plugged in and discipled by some amazing leaders I would have walked down the wrong path and could have completely walked away from my faith. Serving is also how I have made life long friends and most importantly where I met and fell in love with my husband. My children have been raised in service, helping wrap gifts for underprivileged kids, to helping me fold youth event fliers to sitting in awe as they watch dear friends preach their hearts out on stage. I wouldn't be me if I wasn't a volunteer.
If I didn't volunteer in church my life would look completely different. I know I wouldn't have married my husband, and I know I would have made choices that I may not have been able to recover from. Volunteering is a life style for me, not a weekly commitment. I take the call on my life seriously. I have a deeper intimacy with my Savior because I serve, I am constantly growing in my walk with Christ, I am encouraged and challenged by the people I serve with and most of all I get to watch Gods church grow.
I know too many Christians who are simply content with attending church on Sunday morning and living their life without giving back. And to be honest it makes me really sad. Not only are they robbing others of their God given talent, not only are they robbing themselves of friends and growth, they are robbing God. Yes, I said that! Choosing not to serve when God has called you to, is robbing God. You are robbing Him of using you, robbing Him of stretching you and making you grow. And most of all you are robbing God of the opportunity to work miracles in the lives of others through you. We are ALL called by God to seek and save the lost, we are ALL called to give unconditional love as Christ did! It is shameful how many Christians forget or don't care to give as God gave.
You might think, the church really doesn't need another person. But that's a lie. God only created one YOU, and He wants to use YOU. Being a volunteer will change your life, it will stretch you further then you have ever been stretched. Being a volunteer allows God to move in you and through you. Don't rob the world of Gods gift, YOU!