Serve to Declare
Back at the beginning of the ministry year, I wrote and gave a talk at the Sovereign Grace Kids training session. As I was writing it, I was thinking to myself, “You know, I think I could expand this and apply it to all serving, not just serving in Sovereign Grace Kids.” I approached our brilliant communications director about it and nepotism won out (she’s my sister)!
The crux of my talk was applying Sovereign Grace Church’s mission statement (which is really just a slight reworking of the great commission) to serving. Specifically that in serving in SGK, our goal is to Delight, Display, and Declare the gospel to the kids that they may in turn Delight, Display, and Declare. The thing is, this applies to any type of serving, not just teaching in SGK. So this will be a three part series about how, as Christian servants, we must Delight, Display, and Declare the gospel in order for our serving to be effective.
This is going to be a three part series, going in the reverse order that the mission statement goes.
Part 1 — In order to make disciples who delight, display, and declare the gospel, we must declare.
Declaring may seem pretty straightforward and rather obvious. Of course we should be declaring the gospel. It’s part of our job description as believers. However, as most of us know, this is much easier said than done.
Even in Sovereign Grace Kids it is important to remember that we aren’t just telling them cute little Bible stories. We are called throughout the New Testament to preach the gospel. When we serve in SGK on Sunday mornings, we are teaching the children what is of first importance: that Christ came as a man, lived a perfect life, died in our place, and rose again to conquer sin and death. Teaching the kids in SGK is part of fulfilling the great commission. That is no small thing. It may not feel like the Paul and Timothy type of discipleship-relationship that most of us idealize and we may not see a lot of radical conversions, but we are planting seeds when we declare and those seeds will grow. There will be fruit. We might not get to see it, but it’ll be there. And it starts with them hearing the gospel.
However, declaring is not only to be prevalent when serving in areas that require teaching. The worship team is not just there to get us pumped up with some good music. They are leading theologically; preaching the gospel by carefully choosing rich songs that point to Jesus. When unbelieving guests visit, the hospitality team is equipped to declare the gospel to them and love them by welcoming and inviting and helping. There are opportunities to declare the gospel in any area of service, we just have to seek them out and step out in obedience when they occur.
Also, it is important to serve our unbelieving friends and neighbors outside of the church. But that serving will be ultimately worthless if we do not declare the gospel. An unbelieving elderly woman will appreciate when you shovel her walk, but she will simply think you are an unusually kind hearted person unless you declare what makes you unusual--the Spirit’s work in you because of Christ’s work on the cross. The homeless man that you buy lunch for will be grateful and momentarily satisfied, but even a lifetime of free meals will not satisfy him the way Christ will. And the only way he’ll know this is if you don’t simply buy him lunch, but declare the gospel to him.
Serving is important and it is good. We set an example when we serve the church and our unbelieving friends. But again, if we merely serve without the declaration we will seem unusually nice and that’s where it will stop. Now, it’s not all about being eloquent. About being the best speaker. About having the best words. It’s mainly about setting a Christ-like example and preaching truth with conviction and love.
I know it can be very difficult. Personally, I am a bit of a coward when it comes to declaring to non-believers. But God gives grace to the humble. If you pray and ask for God to give you opportunities, he will! However, we need to remember that it’s not about legalistically checking off the evangelism box, nor is it about being a super-christian who can single handedly save all of the people by running around like a madman in the street declaring that Jesus saves. It’s about showing lost people that there’s hope. And we know this because we have been given a great gift, not because of anything we have done or will do, but because in his lovingkindness, God gave it to us. And that is worth declaring
Thaxton Gamache lives in Minneapolis and has been a member at Sovereign Grace Church for 17 years. He works in Operations Support and writes on the side. He loves serving in Sovereign Grace Church and wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
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