My generation (20-somethings) tends to have a consumerist mindset that is driven to individualistic gain – it drives our actions, motivations, and desires. It is no wonder that collectively we don’t produce a community that serves others and appreciates it when others serve us. If you ask the common person-on-the-street in West Palm Beach to serve you and promise nothing in return, the response will not surprise you. To be honest, I can be that same person as well. The idea that we should serve everyone regardless of who they are or what they can offer us is much easier said than done.
Growing up in the local church in the Northeast, the importance of serving was instilled in me from a young age. I will admit that at times I didn’t have a desire to serve nor did I see the point. I thought the pastor and older adults should do all the work. Over the years, I have learned a new way of being a servant and how it leads us to live on mission. In the gospel of Mark, there are many passages that talk about Jesus serving His disciples, the homeless, and the sick. One of my favorites is Mark 9:33-37. The passage begins with Jesus confronting the disciples as they discussed the issue of who was the greatest. The disciples, blinded by their own ambitions to be better than one another, showed the true intentions of their hearts. They didn’t intend to serve people but rather were seeking power and authority to rule over them. How often in the church do we seek power and authority over others?
As Family Church initiates the strategy of Missional Communities, our leaders need to be ready to serve like Jesus did. Jesus served all kinds of people in all kinds of ways:
- Mark 5:1-15 — Jesus heals the man controlled by a demon.
- Mark 5:21-43 — Jesus heals the women and Jarius’ daughter.
- Mark 9 — Jesus teaches the disciples about not seeking authority in community.
- Luke 17:11-20 — Jesus heals the men who had leprosy.
- John 13 — Jesus serves the disciples by washing their feet.
Jesus is constantly showing the attitude and practice of a servant. He serves those whom other people look down on. He would even serve those who conspired against Him and those who didn’t agree with His methods. He also shows servant leadership qualities by teaching His disciples how to do ministry and how to put other people’s needs before their own. What will it take for those in the local church to form Missional Communities that serve not only those who are one of us, but also those around us who are lost?
We can be so busy doing church that we do not take time to be the church. We should be the first to respond to a tragedy or to support those in need. We can be the kind of servants who impact the city of West Palm Beach just like Jesus impacted the places He went. If we want to reach South Florida, we need everyone in the local churches to join in and to take part. We need to live our lives on mission by serving others regardless of who they are or where they rank societally or whether they are for us or against us. This is how we can impact our community with the Gospel.