Living Out Romans 12

Two weeks ago, I began introducing ESI readers to the nine teams that make up The Crossing’s Care Ministry, and I promised more information in subsequent posts.

The Care Ministry exists because a remarkable number of people volunteer their time and talents to serve their brothers and sisters in Christ. This service is usually in ways that are an outgrowth of their natural gifts and/or interests.

There are many ways to serve in a church the size of The Crossing, so if you try to serve in an area and you find that it drains rather than energizes you, perhaps it’s not that you should stop serving. Perhaps the area in which you are serving simply doesn’t match your natural gifts, and you should try something else.??

There was a time several years ago when, after the perennial call for volunteers to serve in Children’s Ministry, my quiet husband, Warren, rather recklessly signed up to work in our daughter Mackenzie’s Sunday morning classroom; she was a second-grader at the time. The classroom was energetic, loud and full of inquisitive short people. Warren spent an entire semester faithfully showing up, but feeling completely unqualified, inept and entirely wrung out after an hour with these very normal, very active seven- and eight-year-olds.

A few years ago, after the Square Peg/Round Hole trauma of that experience had faded, Warren briefly tried volunteering once again in Children’s Ministry, this time in the Walkers room alongside me. I love spending time holding babies, but the tears, the diapers, the drool that also comes along with the whole “baby package”…well, it’s not really Warren’s thing. He didn’t last long, though he did gain a tremendous appreciation for those who serve our church in this way.

My quiet, introspective husband can, in fact, enjoy being around children – particularly his own – but he is absolutely no match for the giftedness of the Candace Lawhons of Children’s Ministry when it comes to engaging inquisitive young minds toward a single purpose.

However, put him in front of a computer and ask him to articulate his thoughts on how a life of faith intersects with the reality of day-to-day life – work, family, money, sex – and you soon see where his strengths lie.

So it is with those who serve successfully on the care teams. For instance, while I don’t know everyone who serves in the Meals Ministry, I do know several. The women I know not only enjoy the simple act of preparing food to make an amazing meal, they also love to bless others by preparing meals for them. This is one of their gifts, and so this is the way they are choosing to serve the Body of Christ.

If you don’t know a whisk from a tablespoon, you’d probably feel frustrated and inept trying to serve on the Meal Team – much as Warren did in Children’s Ministry. So I certainly wouldn’t recommend starting there. But there are many talents, and many needs. Here are other ways in which people can and are caring for the Body of Christ, using their gifts through some of the Care Ministry Teams:

  • Hospital Visitation: Did you know that if you or a family member is hospitalized for any reason, there are people who would love to visit with you? This devoted group of people will arrive for a brief stay or can keep you company for part of the afternoon. Members have gone to the hospital to pray with family members distraught over an unexpected surgery, or have offered support and encouragement to folks whose stay has lengthened beyond what they thought it would. They pray with and for individuals, and provide encouragement by being a physical reminder of the loving care of the church body. Whether your hospitalization is scheduled (the birth of a baby) or an emergency situation (car accident, heart attack, etc.), this team is there for you.

  • Meals Ministry: Did you know that if your family experiences a season of high stress or a crisis, this team is ready to ease the burden at home by providing meals for a few weeks? Whether it is the joy of bringing an infant home from the hospital, the stress of an unexpected illness or hospitalization, a chronic health condition that has put strain on the family over a period of time, or other circumstances that have created strain at home, this team can help. More importantly, they want to help, and genuinely enjoy lightening the load for you at home by providing a warm meal to your door.

  • New Moms Ministry: Did you know that as The Crossing family grows, there are people who delight to serve the new mothers of our church in a variety of practical and relational ways? The members of this team have a heart for new mothers and the challenges they face, and they actively attempt to connect with the mothers of newborns at The Crossing, whether it is the first or fifth child. In the weeks following birth (or adoption), the team provides practical support by helping organize meals with the Meal Team, visiting the new mother and trying to ensure her needs are met. They regularly organize playgroups, giving new mothers an opportunity to connect with each other and develop community. This team is also hosting a clothing swap at The Crossing on Saturday, May 7 (click here for details), and hopes to hold these events regularly as well.

If you’ve not yet found a place to serve within The Crossing, consider looking for a way to serve where your natural gifts or your interests can be put to good use. If you enjoy cooking, the Meals Team might seem like an obvious choice. Or maybe you think you have no discernible gift that could be used to serve others within the church. Maybe the talents you have are ones you don’t think could be put to use in the church. I encourage you to step out and start asking others where they think you might be able to serve. There’s a place for everyone.

In more than one of his letters to the churches, the Apostle Paul uses the analogy of all of us being members of the Body of Christ, with different purposes and strengths (1 Corinthians 12:12-26; Romans 12:3-13). When I read these passages, what I came to understand is that God did not create us to live independently – of Him, or even of each other. He has given each of us strengths, and we should seek to use those strengths to His glory, in the service of His Kingdom. This is the fruit of our faith in God – when we willingly and joyfully take everything we have been given, even our talents and gifts, and turn it all around to use for Him.

None of us has the ability to “do it all” on our own, all the time. I think He may have had a purpose in encouraging this interdependence…don’t you??

Note: You can find my post from two weeks ago here.

Romans 12:4-6 “Humble Service In The Body of Christ”
?For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.

Romans 12:9-13 “Love in Action”
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

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?Additional Care Team Ministries at The Crossing:

  • Funeral Care: This team provides support and encourage to families experiencing the loss of a loved one.

  • Fix-It: This team provides minor car repairs, home maintenance jobs or yard-work for individuals during times of high stress, crisis or financial set-back.

  • Home Care: This team provides assistance with a variety of basic needs, including childcare, help with laundry or cleaning, to individuals after surgery, illness, childbirth or other acute life experiences.

  • Prayer Ministry: This team devotes itself to consistently praying with and for the congregation of The Crossing.?

  • Single Moms Ministry: This team is a source of practical and relational support to single mothers.?

  • Graceful Wait: This team provides support to women and couples through the pain of infertility or loss of a baby through miscarriage, stillbirth or early infant death.

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