In the winter of 2011, my wife and I were in search of a church home. We were attending one of the mega churches in our area but it just did not feel right. While the preaching was fantastic, we did not feel connected. Since we were both saved and nurtured in small churches where everybody knew everybody, we were looking for a more personable family style church.
So we visited several churches in the area. Unfortunately, we could not find the right one for us. Then my wife suggested that we take a look at some of the smaller churches on the outskirts of Charlotte. I hesitantly did a search on the internet for church, family and Mt. Holly. One of the results returned was Harvest Time Church. After perusing their website, I decided that it was worth a visit.
We arrived at service in the middle of praise and worship. The music was lively and the Holy Spirit was present as the people praised the Lord with vigor. My wife and I looked at each other and started smiling. This was our kind of place. Then I looked at the front of the church and saw a white man dancing arm in arm in a circle with a black man. Wow! This church was not a part of the most segregated time in America – Sunday Morning. It was a picture of what I envision heaven will be like. People were worshiping the Lord together regardless of race, nationality or financial wherewithal.
In my mind, I knew this was the place for us. But I had to control my exuberance. We had only been there for 15 minutes. We had not even heard the preacher speak.
We came back for a few more Sunday's and continued to enjoy ourselves. The praise and worship was good. The preaching was good. The children's ministry was good. The fellowship was good. Now there was one more item to check off our list – the opportunity to serve. For us, serving is vital. We cannot sit on the pew of "do-nothing". We need to be actively involved. If not, we feel like we are dying on the inside.
As we looked into the ministries of the church, we noticed that husbands and wives were serving together. In fact, it was a part of the culture. That sealed the deal for us. We joined the church and we have been there ever since.
In Ephesians 2, Paul said "for by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them." (Ephesians 2:8-10).
We have been saved to serve. Jesus expects us to utilize the gifts and talents that He has blessed us with to share the grace and mercy freely given to us with others. One of the avenues by which we can do that is the local church. Through our local church, we can serve in the music ministry, children's church, usher board, elders, trustees, deacons, evangelism, transportation, etc. And you know something, we can serve together. He does not have to serve in one area of the ministry while his wife serves in another area. We can serve together as one flesh.
Serving together creates unity in the home as we join together to spread the gospel. We are no longer two blessed individuals serving separately. We are one flesh utilizing our combined gifts to defeat the enemy. We are not two individuals sitting idly by waiting on "them, they and the other people" to do everything. We are not waiting on the church to educate us, heal us, entertain us, minister unto us and create fellowshipping opportunities for us. We are not more interested in what we can get out of the church. Instead, we are interested in blessing others via the gifts by which we have been blessed.
The Great Apostle Paul challenges us to shed this self-seeking mentality and Get Busy. He says "the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf." (2 Cor 5:14) So when it comes to church, are you a giver or a taker? Are you seeking ministry opportunities or solely seeking to be ministered unto?
The late president John F. Kennedy said "ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country". I think that is appropriate for the church as well. Ask not what your church can do for you but what you can do for your church. Try it and watch Your Marriage Succeed.
Note: Harvest Time Church has changed its name to Core Church. (www.corechurch.cc)