Have you ever felt overwhelmed by all the ways to serve or get involved in ministry outreach? Maybe so much so that it’s numbed you into not doing anything? As one often putting new opportunities in front of you, I’m hoping these opportunities cause you to reflect on what God would have for you and ways God might have you step outside yourself to give your life away.
The best examples I can give you of people who really make a difference are the “quiet saints” – people who show up to serve, week in and week out. For them, giving their life away is something they practice on a daily basis. Serving is not something they just do occasionally, rather, it regularly flows from their deep understanding of and appreciation for God’s love and sacrifice for them. They can’t help but let the gospel do what it naturally does - spread and overflow from their life to others. This type of serving frees us from feeling stuck, indispensable, or burned out.
There are seasons where I have burned the candle at both ends, but God has called me to step back a little to heal, grow, or reflect. THAT’S OKAY! I’m not God, so there are times when I need to refill. There are other seasons where He has called me to get my hands messy and serve in a way that sacrificially involves giving my time, resources, and heart. THAT’S OKAY! I’m not God, but I can give it my all to serve in the freedom that comes by not having a “savior” mentality.
Where are you? Whatever you are doing and wherever you are, Mother Teresa’s words are about right: “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”
Here are a few everyday ways for you to make a difference:
Go and spend 30 minutes a week reading with a child who is behind in reading. Research has shown that children who aren’t proficient in reading by the end of third grade are four times more likely not to graduate from high school than proficient readers (which is a clear indicator for financial stability, employment outcomes, physical health, civic engagement, and lower crime rates). If you like to nerd out on research, check out THIS website – it’s amazing! While you’re reading to children, make sure that you are reading diverse books that represent children of all ethnicities and nationalities! Be intentional with the books you pick out – you are celebrating diversity in this way and opening up the world to the kids you are reading to. A great place to start is Brilliant Book Clubs! They connect volunteers with kids in local schools to read for 30-minute lunches. Start by going to their website and get connected with a student near you!
2. OPEN YOUR HOME!
Whether it’s through foster care, Safe Families, a Bible study, or inviting your teenager’s friends over, opening your home is one of the most life-on-life impactful things you can do. I remember growing up, our house was always the party house – sleepovers, birthday parties, you name it. My friends were over ALL. THE. TIME. And because my parents were willing to drop-off friends after church and cook extra meals, we saw some of my friends come to Christ and God do some incredible things in their lives.
Pray for opportunities around you where you can be bold in your faith. Whether that is at your school, work, yoga studio, or in your family - pray big prayers for God to use you and to give you opportunities to share your faith. Be open to having spiritual conversations with the people in your life. And then open your mouth to do just that!
4. DO ONE THING REALLY WELL!
You don’t have to be good at everything and you don’t have to be involved in everything. Choose one ministry to really pour your life into. This may be for a short season or it may end up being a lifelong commitment. Celebrate Recovery, children, students, KARIS adoption/foster care ministries, the CUBE, schools, after-school ministries (NOVO is amazing), Perspectives, Global Action, becoming a missionary or church plant partner, Hands 4 Missions, mentoring... need I go on?! There are SO MANY ways for you to invest. Some call for opportunities just one time a year, but most need consistent people showing up week in and week out.
Who is it that you credit for making a difference in your life? Chances are it’s not the one-time volunteer, but someone who invested in you and showed up for you time and again. No matter who you are or what you’re doing in life, we can all make a difference by daily serving and sharing our lives.
Meet the Author!
Makenzie graduated from Wheaton College where she majored in Christian Ministry, Urban Studies, and Photography and somehow managed to apply all of her degrees to work in the real world! She has a passion for community development after years working in urban ministry in Chicago, non-profits in Austin, and part-time roles at CRBC the past 4&1/2 years. She loves being able to equip and serve the church and recently stepped into the full-time role as Minister of Missions at CRBC which includes both local and global partnerships. Despite being the missions minister, she is quite the homebody. She is an avid Harry Potter fan, loves Oklahoma City, and loves to be with her friends, family, and ADORABLE weenie dog, May.