Serving Outside the Church
Opportunities to serve Christ are not limited to what takes place among gatherings of Christians. God calls us to serve Him in many ways. As Colossians 3:17 teaches, “Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”
In fact, in Mark 9:41 Jesus taught, “For truly, I say to you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ will by no means lose his reward.” No act of service is too small. The woman who anointed Jesus with oil was ridiculed by others. Jesus said to leave her alone: “she has done what she could” (Mark 14:8).
God offers many examples of service beyond the local congregation. Of great importance is missionary activity that takes the gospel message to those who have yet to hear (Acts 13:1-5; Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8). Further, many forms of humanitarian service can offer tremendous help to others while opening opportunities to share faith: “I was hungry and you gave Me food, I was thirsty and you gave Me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed Me, I was naked and you clothed Me, I was sick and you visited Me, I was in prison and you came to Me” (Matthew 25:35–36). James 1:27 teaches, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction.”
A final example can be seen in the account of the Good Samaritan. The man who stopped to help was considered the one who was a neighbor to the man in need. Jesus said, “You go, and do likewise” (Luke 10:37). The application is that believers are to find those in need and make an effort to serve based on those needs.
Many roles exist for Christians to serve beyond the church’s internal ministries. Be watching and praying, because God often places needs right in front of us where we can use our gifts, abilities, and resources to help those in need.