Even if you do not have a lot of money to give, there are lots of ways you can serve your faith community. Every member of the body of Christ is valuable to the local church.
The church is more than just an institution, social club, or charity. We need the power of God to impact our local churches and His Church worldwide. God wants us to ask and expect Him to move on our behalf. He says, “Call to me, and I will show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.”
He wants us to pray that He, the Lord of the Harvest, would send out laborers into the Harvest Field of lost souls. Pray that God will show you and your church the best ways to reach people locally and support missionaries who serve elsewhere.
The devil lays many snares for church leaders. They need divine protection to avoid these. Pray that God gives a clear direction to your leadership. Pray that they will be like Nehemiah, being brave, wise, and having good organization skills to place the right people in leadership positions under them.
Pray to be used by God
Pray that God will use you as an individual, and your church as a collective to be Christ’s hands and feet, a light to the lost to bring them to the Savior. Pray that outsiders and visitors will see the character of Jesus, not just a neatly organized church program or insensitive snobs. Jesus promised, “If I am lifted up, I will draw all men unto Me.”
A word of encouragement and appreciation to the pastor, Bible Study leader, or even Sunday school can mean the world.
Also, speak positive, kind words to someone who needs to hear them- that stressed out Mom, that angst-filled teenager, that depressed fellow Christian, that struggling new believer. Go online and send a positive message through Facebook or email. This will help you stay in the loop and build friendships within the church.
Refrain from complaining, negative comments and gossip. Do not react angrily when something is said or done with which you disagree. These only drag your church down. Instead, exercise patience and speak the truth in love. Have faith that the Lord will help you grow in grace. Build each other up.
Encouragement can also take the form of small homemade gifts or cards. Bring some baked goods, a casserole, or pickles for your pastor or church event.
The pastor should not have to do all the ministry in the church. If you have the time and ability, offer to lead a Bible study or teach a Sunday school class. Or, be an assistant and help hand out sheets, do kids’ crafts, clean up, etc. Even offering to pinch-hit once in a while provides tremendous relief when needed.
Do you play an instrument? Play it for the Lord’s glory. Join the choir, help lead worship. Sing a solo. Be sure to come on time to all practices.
Write or participate in a church drama for kids, youth, or the whole church. Paint the scenery, man the lights or sound system. Sew the costumes. Co-ordinate props and rehearsals. Handle publicity. Holding Christmas and other dramas can be a great way to draw people in and expose them to the Gospel.
Let the church have or use your facility, clothes, old jewelry, makeup, chairs, dishes, etc. for a play or other special event. Donate toilet paper tubes, tin cans, leftover craft supplies, yarn, etc. to the Sunday School. Since craft supplies can be expensive, the church will appreciate being able to save the money for other expenses.
Ask if the church needs old boxes to store things. Also, boxes can be used for transporting food baskets and other helps to those in need. Save empty, clean ice cream or frozen yogurt containers with lids. These come in handy for transporting leftovers from church functions to those in need. Donate your old books and videos to the church library or fundraiser. Collect and donate pop cans and other stuff with deposits for the church to cash in.
Use your gifts of service. Mow the church lawn, weed the flower garden, rake leaves, or shovel snow. Offer to drive people to and from the church. Transport the youth group to a conference out of town. Almost anyone can set up chairs, scrape gum from pews, or do dishes. Fix or clean the church van. Change diapers in the nursery. Do the stuff no one wants to do, like clean bathrooms. Even if no one else recognizes your efforts, the Lord will see and appreciate it.
Many people donate money to the church, but the gift of time is even more valuable. Using your gifts of creativity can help present the Gospel in new, attractive, and exciting ways. Donating recyclable items is a terrific way to get rid of clutter and help God’s people at the same time. So, don’t feel bad if your budget just doesn’t permit large financial donations to the church. In your giving to God, think outside the offering plate.