I remember when I showed up on my college campus for the first time. It was a Bible college, and although I had grown up going to church, I walked into the orientation meeting feeling like a square peg trying to fit into a round hole! Fish outta water? Are you kidding me? It was enough to make me want to run back the way I came! Everyone there had a certain “look” and most of them were pastor’s kids. I didn’t come from a prestigious home, and I certainly didn’t have the pleated khakis, dress shirt, and tie going on. My first thought was, “What am I doing here?”
Sometimes, when you are new at a church, or maybe even a long time member, it can be a little overwhelming to know where you fit in. You’re thinking, where do I start? How do I get to know these people? Do I really fit in here?
If you feel anything like I did the first day of college, you might feel like you need to RUNNNNNN! (Even if it’s just running out the door as soon as service ends…)
But let me encourage you as we head into a new year, that you DO belong, and you DO fit in. Why? Because this is God’s church and He excels in unity if we allow Him to use us! What we must all remember, is that those mixed emotions we feel, will either be used as an excuse to sit back and remain invisible, or to push past the doors of awkwardness, discover our gifts and abilities and then put them to use for God!
God has given each of us unique abilities and varying personalities to use for Him and there is nothing more satisfying in the Christian walk, then learning how to use them together and complete the body of Christ!
We have a diverse church. I’m not speaking about cultures here, but more so about the different groups of people we have in our church. We have families with little kids, families with teenagers, single parents, older singles, and younger singles, grandparents, and retired couples. All are different walks of life.
So when it comes to doing more for God in His church, where do you fit in?
- I’m a single person, where can I be used?
Whether you’re a teenager, a young single, or a single in your prime, you have a purpose! Sometimes it can be tempting to feel that you’re not able to serve in the same capacity, but Paul says that you can actually serve in a unique way! Look what he says in I Corinthians 7:32,35:
“…He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord:”
"And this I speak for your own profit" not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction.”
Whether you are young and single, or you’re in the prime of your life and single, God can reveal to you special ways that you can serve. You already posses a unique gift to work in ministries around the church because you have a different time schedule than those that have families tagging behind them. I’m not saying you aren’t busy, but Paul says that your obligations are different, therefore you can serve in ways that families can’t. Look around, be creative, and jump in!
- I have a family, what can we do together?
You may have one, two, three, or more kids. Maybe you have a bunch of little ones and your life is chaotic, or you’re right in the middle of teen hormones and your life is out of control! You may be married, or you could be a single parent doing your best to raise your kids. No matter what age group of kids you have, or the presence of a spouse or not, it’s hard to know how to serve at church.
Me and my wife have four kids and trust me, there are times where we feel a little limited to what we can do serving Jesus together as a family. Sometimes just getting a babysitter for a church event sounds easier than trying to keep track of all four of them while trying to hand at coffee and donuts, or wrap a Christmas gift at our “Go and Tell” events. But I have to remind myself that this is the season of life we are in right now, and will be in for several years to come.
Kids grow up fast. They’ll be gone before we all know it, but they will remember the times you served God together. Proverbs 22:6 wisely reminds us to:
“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
In Matthew 19:14, Jesus encouraged children to approach him without reserve in the middle of a crowd of people!
“But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”
And do you remember in Matthew 14:17-20 where Jesus used a little boy’s lunch of five loaves and two fishes to feed a crowd? Even though he didn’t have much to offer, God used it! Why does Jesus love children to be involved? Because He knows that they’ll serve Him with all they have, no matter how small! He knows that this is the time that their little hearts are moldable and soft. They want to serve Jesus because they love Him! This is the time where they need to develop a love for God to get them through the coming stages of their life. Children and teens need to see a “real”love for God in their home, and it starts by serving God together as a family!
We want to make sure that every event here at CityLight, whether it be church events, or “Go and Tell” projects, is an opportunity to be together with your kids. We want you to be excited together, pray together, and then see God perform miracles together! So get involved, and bring the whole fam!
- My kids are grown, and I’m retired. Is there a place for me?
Grandmas, grandpas, sometimes it’s hard to know where you fit in here at a church where there are so many new and young families. Many older people are satisfied with past accomplishments in their life and now that they've reached retirement age, it only seems natural to retire from church service. But can I just encourage you with a few verses found in Titus 2:2-4
“That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.
The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, …teachers of good things;
That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children…”
God still has a place for you! And believe it or not, young families crave wisdom from older couples. You’ve been there and you’ve raised your children. You’ve worked hard and you’ve seen what God can do. We can depend on you for godly advice and a shoulder to lean on!
God is not done with you yet. Even though you may be retired, you can dig in your heels here at God’s church and be the blessing God intended you to be!
The church is a beautiful thing, filled with diversity. This is what the gospel brings. Diversity, yet unity. At CityLight, we believe that every individual has been brought here uniquely by the Lord and has a purpose. Love the season and stage of life you are in and learn how to use it to serve the Lord to the fullest!
Let’s have a wonderful 2018 as we advance the gospel to the LA Metro!
Lead Pastor, CityLight LA