(This article was printed in KBR Volume 9#3, and the list below of practical ways to serve is listed here for you to read in full. Feel free to print!)
As I began pondering the many various ways a virtuous girl could obediently serve her church family, I naturally had to begin with a list! We girls like to make and read lists, don’t we? It is my prayer that you will be encouraged to prayerfully seek the Lord’s guidance as you consider one or more of these ideas for opportunities to serve your King. There is a very important list in the Bible that is meant to direct us in our most lasting-fruit-bearing efforts for Him. God has given us varying spiritual gifts -- talents and abilities -- intended to equip us to help the body of believers. Our church fellowship is the main venue for working out our spiritual gifts for the good of other Christians and to the glory of God (Rom. 12:6; 1 Cor. 12:1-31). Remembering that there are varying gifts will help keep us from trying to accomplish tasks not necessarily intended for us to do. The list I present to you is not a WORKS-oriented checklist! As you listen closely to the Lord’s leading and become more attuned to the needs of others, you will know what you are called to do. Keep this list and pray over it… refer to it in times of lagging zeal. Perhaps during a phase when you are languishing in good works, you will find fresh inspiration to get back to work in the vineyard of the Lord!
“And the Lord said, ‘What is that in thine hand?’”
We so often hear that we are tools in God’s hands to accomplish His plans in the earth… We, too, have tools in our hands to use as God moves us according to His purposes!
Paper and Pen
~ write notes to friends going through a difficult time
~ send a card to those on the church prayer list
~ write names of church visitors to pray over and contact later
~ create scripture cards with a verse the Lord gives you to encourage another
~ write stories with parables for children
~ a note from you will encourage new converts
~ write to your fellowship’s missionaries keeping them abreast of the news back home
~ write articles or lessons for Christian media resources
~ write letters for those unable to such as the injured or elderly
~ copy Bible verses to post around your home as you endeavor to memorize scripture
~ bake surprise birthday cakes or cupcakes for the widows/widowers in your church family
~ bake bread during the week to wrap in gift bags and have ready to distribute to Sunday visitors
~ take gift of homemade bread to give to your preacher’s family or to help someone having company
~ bake and contribute cookies for a children’s event such as VBS or Awana Club
~ find a recipe for unleavened communion bread and make for the next Lord’s Supper Sunday
~ make a big batch of peanut brittle to distribute to families during the holiday season
~ bake cookies to take to the long-term care unit in a hospital or to the firehouse or police station
~ upon hearing that there is a sick member, drop by a mason jar of soup and a loaf of bread
~ make a big pot of stew or chili to share with other families after church services are over
Pitcher & Cup
~ prepare a cold glass of water to place at the podium in the event your speaker needs a sip
~ make a pitcher of fresh lemonade to take to a church building work day, picnic, or fun day
~ when there is a meeting planned for the leaders of the church, provide a special beverage for them
~ bake casseroles, breads, and fruit pies to freeze and have on hand when others need food brought in
~ buy groceries when they are on sale and save for the needs of others
~ “put up” your garden harvest to have plenty to serve your hospitality guests throughout the whole year
~ enjoy the company of older/younger women and girls as you practice graceful manners at a tea party
~ honor the older women of the congregation in an annual Ladies’ Day event
~ call sick/lonely to say, “I was just thinking about you; Is there something I can pray about for you?”
~ be a part of the calling list for immediate prayer requests
~ make long distance calls to missionaries or young people away from home
~ make a call to an upcoming event organizer and ask if there is a need for additional volunteers
~ if you hear that a friend is going through something rough, call her and tell her you are praying for her
~ when a family will be having a houseful of visitors, call and offer to lend time, goods, or services
~ call a young family and ask if you could play with her children while she attends to something else
~ offer to wash and fold clothes for a new mom or someone who has just had surgery
~ take on the ironing of a large family -- boys’/men’s shirts often fall far behind
~ a busy mom might need help catching up a pile of mending… you could do it while babysitting
~ offer to wash baptistery clothes, classroom curtains, crib sheets, etc.
~ a group of friends could have a free car wash set up for church members who could use the help
~ take a friend to a widow’s house and wash all of her windows and dust her furniture
~ when a family is hosting a large party/shower/wedding, offer to help in pre- or post- clean-up
~ always be in attendance when there are scheduled church building cleaning days
~ help wash the dishes and clean up the kitchen after a church fellowship dinner
~ a simple thing like taking a paper towel and cleaning up water on the restroom vanity is thoughtful
~ learn a simple knitted baby hat and make one for each new baby in the congregation
~ knit or crochet a neck scarf to give all the grandmas in the church
~ help a mom with a houseful of girls by sewing simple skirts for them or altering too-big clothing
~ sew cloth diapers or burp pads for mothers or the church nursery
~ sew easy book bags for the class teachers
~ have a group get together to sew and tie simple lap quilts for hospitalized or elderly
~ could the ladies who serve in the church kitchen use new aprons or embroidered tea towels?
~ sometime children or short persons need cushions to sit on to be more comfortable
~ does your church display banners on various occasions?
~ take someone who cannot drive to their doctor appointment
~ go visit the hospitalized or shut-ins in your church family
~ take a group to sing in a local nursing home
~ offer to pick someone up and take them to church with you
~ deliver gifts your family is sharing with others
~ drive over to a young mom’s house and say, “I’m here to do whatever you want me to do!”
~ take the visiting missionaries through your town and show them where everything is -- then lend the car!
~ be sure to show up to help beautify church grounds on scheduled work days
~ plant a pretty flowerbed on church grounds -- be sure to maintain so as not to begin to look unsightly
~ bring bouquets (or single stems) from your garden to give to women unexpectedly, to those back from
sickness, to the bereaved, for the preacher’s wife, for the restroom vanity, a little girl’s hair, etc.
~ offer to arrange flowers for weddings, funerals, or baby showers
~ bring a basket of your garden produce to put in church foyer for people to pick out what they need
~ tie a pretty bow around a jar of canned peaches (or pickles! or peas!) to present to someone at church
~ offer to help rake or harvest at someone’s house
~ trim back old vines from the windows of the infirmed so it will begin to let the sun shine in once again
~ visit a lady that lives in assisted living/nursing home and gently brush her hair/lightly massage her scalp
~ offer to serve a bride by fixing her hair and/or doing her fingernails for her wedding
~ ask a few of the older ladies or widows if they would like to save money by you rolling/fixing their hair
~ visit someone facing surgery and relax her by massaging lotion into her hands or feet; pray as you do
~ have your girlfriends over to practice on one another new of ways to design your long hairstyles
~ bless church family get-togethers with quiet background music
~ take instruments when you go calling on shut-ins to uplift their hearts with hymns and spiritual songs
~ offer to play for weddings or funerals
~ if your church uses instruments, ask how you can be involved
~ use your gift of music during church services held in nursing homes or senior centers
~ volunteer for office duties to lighten the load of the church leaders
~ type plan of worship, bulletins, church directories, prayer lists, etc.
~ help with any large mail-outs the church is doing
~ consider starting a church family blog to keep congregants reminded of news and prayer requests
~ lighten the load of a student that needs help typing a composition or other assignment
~ be willing to teach older, technologically-behind persons when they have questions about their computer
~ help out with “the books” if you are given to numbers and bookkeeping
~ create your own note cards that include uplifting Bible verses
~ make collages with Scripture and various media
~ press flowers to create one-of-a-kind bookmarks to give to graduates, anyone!
~ paint a wall in each children’s classroom (well, of course, you need permission)
~ help a teacher with her bulletin boards
~ take pictures of church happenings and special events
~ use graphic design skills to produce church pamphlets, signage, stationery, teacher resources, etc.
~ offer to supplement a home schooling family’s curriculum with lessons in art that you have produced
~ design “wall words” using Bible verses
~ use coupons to get toiletries or groceries for families who could use the help
~ listen as people talk of things they may need and purposely go out to thrift stores searching for that item
~ give when a devastating event occurs in your community
~ pick up some extra stamps when you are at the post office and bring to the shut-ins you visit
~ buy extra groceries when things are on sale and you will always have something to share
~ give of your earnings to church and to mission funds
~ shop at garage sales, thrift shops, and discount stores for especially low-priced clothing to share
~ take the things from your drawers and closets that you aren’t using and give them to a girl who has less
~ if your church maintains a lending library, make occasional book contributions
~ when the church collects money for this need or the other, be sure and sacrificially participate
~ invite a lady who rarely gets out to go to a café for pie and coffee -- your treat!
~ always carry tissues, breath mints, cough drops, clippers, and aspirin so you’ll be the one who can give!
~ keep on hand a small New Testament so that you can read while waiting or have one to share
~ take a special little something if a little girl or boy in church likes to sit beside you
~ keep a notepad and pen to jot down phone numbers or calendar notes as you make plans at church
~ not everyone can afford or get out to buy books -- share yours!
~ take extra books or magazines along with you when you visit the elderly or hospitalized
~ perhaps your friends may want to read a book at the same time and get together to discuss it’s merits
~ use your devotional books and Christian biographies to find quotes to make cards or blog or share
~ set up a “book-share” shelf in your church somewhere so people can read what others suggest
~ with your parent’s permission, pass along some of your home schooling books
~ write a book! You may be called to encourage your brothers and sisters in the Lord!
~ read the daily Bible passages over the phone to someone who wants you to do so
~ seek out an organization that arranges for you to make recordings of the Bible for the blind/infirm
~ keep on memorizing scripture so you will have ready answers and encouragement on your tongue
~ offer to study the Bible with a friend who is asking questions about the things of God
~ listen to children say their memorized verses
~ using word-for-word scriptures, write songs or choruses for others to sing
~ help teach children the Bible stories in VBS, neighborhood Bible clubs, Awana, etc.
~ take your Bible along to encourage those you visit in rest homes or hospitals
~ never be without your Bible by your side!
“And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as unto the Lord,
and not unto men…. for ye serve the Lord Christ.”
Colossians 3: 23, 24
Dear girl, oftentimes, after reading a list such as this, we are very inspired and want to eagerly jump in and begin “doing” our “service.” I urge you to pray, pray, pray. Ask the Lord to show you what activities you can involve yourself in that will stem from a heart of pure and undefiled motives. Did you know that “doing for others” can become and IDOL of sorts? It is often a snare to become addicted to the affirmation and approval of others outside your family members. The tempter comes upon us with strokes to our carnal egos whispering in our ear, “They really notice the time and effort it took to…” or “She understands what all it went into this…” or “He recognizes the gift that the Lord put within me…” Beware! It takes a pure and humble heart to be utterly void of desire to long for another’s “That-a-girl!” It has been said that the most growth in spirit and grace comes from service that is the least noticed. Challenge yourself! Strive valiantly to do good deeds that you know will go unnoticed or unappreciated! Just see if you can pick up your brother’s wet towel (for the 20th time) without making mention you have done so (smile). As much as it depends upon you, allow your works to be done as quietly as possible. Training your heart in self-forgetfulness will assure your ability to render a more sacrificially active service as unto the Lord alone.
Bearing fruit and being ministers for the Lord is not about our gifts. It is about His Spirit and His Power working through us. So…let us not look upon OUR endeavors, OUR good works, OUR spiritual giftings more than we look upon the merits of Christ Alone.
-Mrs. Lori R.
[Continued in Volume 9#3 of KBR]