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Community Service and the Christian Life

Community service is an essential aspect of the Christian life. In Matthew 25:40, Jesus reminds us, “whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”  Accordingly, this is why Pastors should consistently communicate the personal benefits of community service to their members, reminding them that it is an opportunity to share the gospel with someone they may not encounter otherwise. Although many churches sponsor community service events, going beyond church property to engage in acts of service allows members to connect with other organizations and individuals that the local church may never reach through traditional programming. In this post, I will discuss the benefits of community service for Pastors and their congregations.  

Spiritual benefits of community service

 Community service is an excellent opportunity for church members to look beyond the church building for opportunities to minister to others. It offers a chance to show compassion, mercy, and grace to people in need. When we help others, we become instruments of God’s love and grace. By serving others, congregants are authentically following in Jesus’ footsteps, who fed, served, and healed the masses during his time on earth. Besides, community service helps church members learn how to articulate their faith and recognize opportunities to participate in what Christ is doing in the world. Moreover, it allows followers of Christ to develop and bare the fruit of the Spirit as described by the Apostle Paul in Galatians 5:22. Paul writes, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control”(NIV). 

According to Ephesians 4:11-13, Paul, speaking of Jesus, declares, “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds, and teachers, to equip the saints for building up the body of Christ”(ESV). Pastors (or shepherds)should equip their congregations to communicate their faith effectively. Having been in churches for over twenty-five years, I have found that most church attendees don’t know how to share their faith. I believe it is because they never really get a chance to practice it. 

The health benefits of community service 

According to the Mayo Clinic Health System, volunteering enormously benefits a person’s physical and mental health. Research has shown that people who volunteer are more likely to report feeling happy and fulfilled than those who don’t. When we help others, we feel a sense of purpose and fulfillment. Serving the community, in turn, reduces feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression. Volunteering also allows us to focus on something other than our problems, which can be therapeutic. Furthermore, studies have shown that volunteering decreases the physical risk of serious diseases like heart disease and stroke. “A longitudinal Study on Aging found that individuals who volunteer have lower mortality rates than those who do not, even when controlling for age, gender, and physical health.”  

Social benefits of community service 

Community service is an excellent way to connect with others and build relationships. When a person volunteers, they get to work alongside people who share similar values and passions. Serving together creates an opportunity to develop new friendships and connect with the community in more meaningful ways. Also, community service can help church members break out of their comfort zones and engage with people who have different life experiences and cultural backgrounds. Jesus told his disciples in Mark 16:15 to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation”(NIV). Community service is an excellent way for church members to get out of the pews and into the world to share their faith. 

Professional benefits of community service 

Community service can provide valuable skills and experiences that can benefit younger church members in their careers. Many young people have learned leadership, teamwork, and communication skills by volunteering their time. These skills can be beneficial in a variety of professional settings. Therefore, community service provides exposure to potential new job opportunities and enhances a young person’s resume. 

During my career in the nonprofit space, I have mentored and taught many young volunteer interns about business processes, leadership, and teamwork. Beyond this, I have worked with elderly volunteers who have used their skills in arts and crafts to make prayer shawls, blankets, and jewelry to help children in need during Christmas. Hospitals, nursing facilities, and homeless shelters also provide a wide range of volunteer opportunities to help those who are sick and feeling abandoned.  

Benefits for the community 

Community service benefits not only volunteers but also the community as a whole. Church members can make a meaningful impact on the lives of people in their community through service. Whether church members serve at a soup kitchen or clean up a park, our service makes a difference. Besides, community service helps to build stronger, more connected communities. We create a sense of unity and shared purpose when we serve others.

Conclusion 

Community service is an essential aspect of the Christian life. It offers numerous benefits, both for individuals and for the community as a whole. When Christians volunteer, we demonstrate God’s love to others, grow spiritually, and experience emotional fulfillment. Also, community service provides an opportunity to connect with others, develop valuable skills, and make a meaningful impact on local communities. As a church member, consider participating in community service opportunities through your church or other organizations. If you are a Pastor, you can help your congregation develop a community service mindset by personally getting involved with other groups in your community who are working to improve the quality of life for others. Finally, Pastors can equip their congregants with effective methods of articulating their faith in compassionate and meaningful ways. 

For more information on expanding church outreach, please visit our web page on church coaching and training solutions at https://www.insightsplus.consulting/2274-2/ or schedule a free consultation at https://calendly.com/insightsplus/30-minute-free-consultation?month=2023-03 . 

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