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The next time you’re at the church you probably don’t think too far ahead. Why should you? You’re here to attend and celebrate an event with many members of the congregation. You sit there with your gaze fixed on the group at hand.
But I don’t think you just need to watch and witness an event at hand. You can be of value to the congregation by engaging the entire space.
You can serve as a guide, a tutor, a handbook, a talisman, or the glue that holds the group together. Your presence can define the event and bring the event to life.
Keep in mind, though, that the next time you’re invited to attend a gathering or faith-based celebration like a parade, a church service, a flea market, or a school concert, don’t just show up and be an observer. When I think of my role as a person of service, I think of getting people ready for the event and helping to address any barriers that can stand in the way of their enjoyment.
If you want to live to your strengths to make your presence truly needed, sometimes that means asking the service director to bring you something to work with as you enter the space. Handbooks, books, software (including anyone’s that shares a common purpose with the service, even free ones), and drinks are gifts that many people appreciate.
Sometimes the first step to service is simply asking if the service is going well. When I have invited people to attend a service, I have sometimes asked how the service was. I have also asked them to get to know the other people in the church by inviting them to bring something, such as a book, to share with them. Sometimes the person will share with us what they brought. I have even brought someone else’s guestcake as dessert.
You can also bring something that will represent you as a friend or family member. If you are a parent or caregiver, bring books, tools, or warm clothing to share with other caregivers in the service. If you’re a teacher, bring gift cards for gifts for kids. I think it’s always wise to have a bag filled with nonperishable food to hand out to people who might not have anything to eat.
This service might involve learning a dance, or an instrument, or speaking a foreign language, or something like that. It doesn’t matter—whether it’s about learning something new, being kind, or helping to make the experience more meaningful. The group will thank you for your presence and for doing something that can make them feel great about their day.
It’s a win-win! And that’s how you serve and have a great time: you spend time, you service others, and you feel great. But your service doesn’t end when you’re out of the building. Even when you’re not supposed to be involved, you can still make a difference. You can bring a group together, invite new members, or minister to a new member’s family. You can encourage or watch someone’s path, and be there for them at their first service, or be there for them when they make their decision to come to a church.
I will always work for the Sacred Heart of Jesus and its mission of bearing witness to Christ and serving others in good times and in bad. And I know I’m not alone. People like Grace Archer know how important it is to take time and make a difference in their lives. And that same needs to be true for everyone. I know we’re going to be blessed by the world that we live in. We do good things, and we’re going to make a difference. We do our part. Together we can make the world a better place.