Faith, hope, love, forgiveness, mercy, peace, compassion, encouragement, reconcilation just to name a few
Saturday, July 12, 2008
The Privilege of Service
Can I just go on record as saying that I love our student ministers at our church? Now, I really, genuinely love both Shelley and Ryan because I just really like them as people and as a brother and sister in Christ. But what I truly love about the two of them are the high expectations of Christian discipleship they have of our students. Case in point - in order to go on the summer mission trips each year, each student is required to complete ten hours of service in some area of church ministry. It can be volunteering to work during the Parent's Night Out activities, or during Vacation Bible School, or for the monthly Love Granbury service project, but everyone is expected to complete the ten hours before they can go on mission trip. It's a little different with summer church camp, which is open to any and all who want to go. But Shelley and Ryan have been teaching our students that mission trip...going to serve others in some other location outside our own community...is a privilege, and as such, carries with it a higher degree of personal commitment. I love that! I love it because it's teaching our students the essence of their calling as Christ followers...to love and serve God by loving and serving others for His sake. And guess what - our students are responding. Yesterday and today, we had another opportunity for some of our students to come and complete their mission trip service hours by working on our church's children's playground. The old bark mulch in the entire playground area had to be turned so that it could dry, then there were 200 bags of new bark mulch that had to be spread. This isn't shrinking violet work by any means. It's hot, sweaty, physical work. But yet, there those students were, guys and girls, giving up two mornings of their summer, serving for the privilege to go and serve the children and families of inner-city Philadelphia in two weeks. And there were even a number of younger students who came to work who aren't even going on the high school mission trip...they just came to serve. To me, there is no more valuable lesson of Christian discipleship that our students can learn than this - that people are much more willing to lend you their ears, after you have given them a piece of your heart. Or, as one of my heroes of faith, Steve Sjogren, puts it...being the Good News before we tell the Good News.