Outside the Walls: From ‘Serve Us’ to Service

 In Music and Worship
Lee Clamp

Lee Clamp is Director of the Evangelism group at the South Carolina Baptist Convention. Follow Lee on Twitter @leeclamp.

This article was originally published by The Baptist Courier on March 1, 2016.

Myrtle Beach First Baptist Church started a new worship service at their local school.

Don has been leading worship for years, but this worship service was much different from what he had done in the past. There was no music and very little preaching. Instead of individuals offering up their voices for worship, they were offering their lives.

The prelude started with a question to the principal: “How can we help you?”

leearticleDon then led in a solo as he began to personally mentor a child in reading.

The principal gave a testimony. “Wow! This is amazing. I saw your flier and loved it. You are just the blessing we needed. With the many demands of the job, we often talked about starting a volunteer/mentor program, but time never permitted. You have single-handedly gotten us up and running.”

Then the congregation joined in, and 18 signed up to be reading buddies.

Soon the Word will be preached, as salt and light enters a world that is in desperate need of hope.

Now that’s a worship service that impacts a community!

In Romans 12 we read: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God — this is your true and proper worship.”

Our worship services sometimes seem routine and predictable. Most of us stand up and sing, sit down and look at the bulletin, and then listen to a message from the pastor. When he says, “In conclusion,” for the third time, we gather our stuff and start thinking about what we will do the rest of the day.

It becomes a good Sunday if the solo was on key, the choir’s special was upbeat, and the preacher got us out by noon.

I remember preaching once at a church out in the country in another state, and my friend asked me after the service what I thought about the church. I said, “Tell me what you are doing in the trailer park right next door, and I’ll tell you what I think.”

How can we have a good Sunday based solely on the music and the preaching if the community around us is dying and in desperate need of help, yet we do little to offer our lives as a living sacrifice Monday through Saturday? This turns the service into “serve us.”

We may need to balance our time spent getting ready for the Sunday worship service with service that happens in our community Monday through Saturday. When that shift occurs, it will get the attention of our community and help to build a positive reputation that will open the doors for evangelism and disciple-making.

Now the invitation is extended to you. Your community is in need of hope. Maybe God wants you to start a new worship service, too.

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