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When you volunteer at church, it’s so much more than simply filling a slot or helping out on a Sunday. Something supernatural happens when the church begins to serve together. Here’s what the Apostle Paul wrote the early church in the letter to the Ephesians:

So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Ephesians 4:11-13

From this passage, here are five incredible things that happen when you serve in your church:

1. You make your church stronger. Paul says that when you serve the body of Christ is built up. Think about going to the gym: when you serve, it’s as if you’re working out and strengthening the various parts of the body. You want a strong church? Start serving.

2. The church becomes united. Don’t walk past the significance of this. When Jesus prayed for the future church (John 17), above all he prayed that the church would be united. When you serve, you’ve got ‘skin in the game,’ you’re more invested in your church and a byproduct of that is unity. Serving strengthens the unity of the church.

3. You discover more about Jesus. There are some things that you can learn by sitting in a classroom, and some things that can only be experienced in real life. You can sit a 16-year-old in a classroom and give her a textbook on what it means to drive, but if you want to fully prepare her for driving in the real world, you’re going to have to let her practice driving in a Driver’s Education course or let her tear up the asphalt in a big open parking lot. It’s the same thing with your relationship with Jesus. You can figure only so much stuff out sitting in a classroom (Sunday School) and learning head knowledge. To experience more, you’re going to have to roll up your sleeves and start serving.

4. You mature in your faith. One of the societal signs of maturity in our culture is when an adult goes out and gets a job, earning his own money, providing for his own family, paying his own bills. We don’t look at the 40-year-old still living at home with no job as mature. When you serve, it’s a sign of maturity because it shows that you’ve grown enough in your faith to realize that it’s not just about consuming, but about giving back to your church.

5. You achieve together something far greater than what you can attain on your own. Paul finishes this passage by saying that when the church serves she attains to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Spiritual maturity is a group project. I can’t be all that I can be without you serving me, and you can’t become all that Christ wants you to become without me serving you. When a church serves together, we achieve something far greater than whatever we could attain to on our own.

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