There is a criterion for choosing a church that is too often overlooked. Of course, we need to consider such issues as doctrine, style, distance, family and philosophy; but the Lord modeled a stance that is neglected by too many of us.
I think it is spelled out in Mark 10:45: For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and give his life as a ransom for many. You need to look for a church home where you can enthusiastically use your spiritual gifts and make a difference in lives. If you are just going to church, even participating in a small group, but not ministering to others, you are robbing yourself of so much.
Your church may be too small and controlled by a few power brokers who resent sharing the ministry. On the other hand, your church may be so large that you feel lost and under used. I once heard a pastor say, “Give me a place to stand, and I can change my world.” He was referring to a local church that provided a foundation for believers to be mobilized to serve the spiritual needs of others.
Do you have a place to stand in your church? If you did, it would provide passion that would turn your world upside down. Just like exercise makes you thirsty, using your gifts would make you hungrier for God’s Word. You would read the Bible more because you need the answers to help those you serve. It would become the necessary air that you breathe.
Serving in your church would create a passion for outreach to your friends and family. Your excitement for your church would be so over the top that you would crave for others to come and enjoy it as well. You would smash their perception that church is a boring man giving a boring talk to a boring group of people. They would follow you into a whole new life with the Lord.
Your labors of love will make a statement to your family about your priorities in life. Your service for the Lord to others will leave a legacy for them to follow. They will cherish these memories of your sacrifice for years to come and may develop a paradigm of service themselves. They need someone, you, to show them that there is a God in heaven and so much more to life.
All of these great benefits fly out the window if you are sitting on your hands as a mere observer at your church. Are you ready to break this cycle? When you head for church next weekend, before you find your seat in the pew, go to someone and ask for help. If they know what they are doing, you will soon find yourself using your gifts serving the needs of people just like Jesus did.