During the Christmas season, we have a unique opportunity to build our own leadership skills while teaching others how to serve. Repeatedly throughout scripture, we see that Jesus used everyday circumstances to train his disciples (and us) how to serve and minister to others. An example that immediately comes to mind is when Jesus feeds five thousand. In John 6:1-13, notice all the times that Jesus had his disciples minister to the people.
While conducting the miracle of feeding so many, Jesus taught others about ministry and serving. He was modeling intentional relationship building with others. He provided first hand experiences of how to minister…and what the rewards would be when service happens. While Jesus showed us how to do this daily, we can use the holidays as a mechanism to “jump start” serving and ministry.
Often the holiday season becomes a time where serving is routine. Without too much thought, we toss some change into a red kettle. Perhaps we bring extra canned goods for the entrance to a craft fair. We purchase small items for a shoebox ministry. We take an angel tree tag and purchase a toy for a child.
I’m not discounting those tasks as bad. All of those are good things to do. I am pointing out that they can become routine and we don’t pause to think or pray about the why…or the who…is behind these acts of service. I’m suggesting that before we toss change into the pot or purchase a toy for a stranger that we stop to pray. Pray over why we are giving and pray over who will be receiving.
I would also propose that we need to encourage others in serving during the Christmas season. Jesus brought the disciples alongside him while He fed the 5000. Why? Because it was a first-hand opportunity to learn how to serve effectively.
– If you already serve in a ministry, ask someone to serve alongside of you. This is a chance to ask those who are not typically involved to step out of their own comfort zones. It may create relationships that develop into other serving opportunities.
– If there isn’t an opportunity within ministry organizations, ask someone to come to a volunteer project outside of the church. It could be as simple as writing letters to nursing home residents, or supervising a children’s event or doing yard work for those who need help.
– If you have children you are leading, brainstorm ideas with them of how to begin serving at Christmas and how that can continue into the new year. Maybe your kids want to volunteer at the food bank for Christmas week and that evolves into a weekly or monthly volunteer project.
Once you’ve invited someone to serve with you, a scenario is created where they are empowered to continue serving on their own. It requires that you are an intentional leader in assisting others in serving. In the next few weeks, look for Christmas opportunities to encourage others to serve…and encourage service past the holidays.
P.S. I’m so encouraged by the women of my church who chose to forgo a typical Christmas party this year to focus on raising awareness for The Elmore County Pregnancy Resource Center, Isaiah 58 Ministry, The Backpack Ministry, as well as writing Christmas cards for Nursing Home residents and deployed military members…they truly modeled Jesus’ behavior in serving others this season!