In his book on work, Every Good Endeavor, Tim Keller says the gospel teaches us that “the meaning of life is to love God and love our neighbor, and the operating principle is servanthood.”
When we train our teams we are teaching them this principle: to serve others for their good rather than for our good.
The leadership of the Connections Ministry at the Summit sees our team’s service as two fold:
- Intentionally planning to graciously greet our guests each week, to remove all distractions from the message of the gospel, and to do that through demonstrating the gospel with our interactions from the parking lot to the seats.
- Cultivating a heart of service towards the outsider motivated by a heart that is full of love from the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The problem in the system, even in the church, is that sometimes our hearts make our service towards our neighbor about us. We fall into the sin of greeting guests so they say something good about us (not Jesus) to their friends. We fall into the sin of creating a good first impression because we want more people to come to our church so that we look good.
When our service to our guests is fueled by our desire to make our name known, how are we any different than a company that is drumming up business? Are our teams are working hard so that people come back to the cool, fast growing, popular church? If this is the case then our service has shifted to being a part of the secular consumer culture rather than helping people see the fulfillment of their lives and their desires in Christ. If we are not fulfilled in Christ then we cannot appropriately serve others to demonstrate our love for God. We are serving ourselves. We are posing as the worker but we are still the consumer. We are trying to “create a persona through the brands we choose… and the identity we are able to construct for ourselves…”
What we are always striving to do with our teams is convince them that their identity is secure in Christ, that he loves them unconditionally and that our circumstances and our work don’t earn us anything in the eyes of God. Pastor J.D. always says “there is nothing you can do to make God love you more, and nothing you can do to make him love you less.” If that is true we can serve others for their good and expect nothing in return.
It is hard to strike this balance between contextualizing our guest’s first impression soaked in the grace of the gospel and providing a consumer driven service for our own benefit. This is where we must realize that the gospel is not just for our guests. The gospel is for us too. Our teams are people in need of the gospel, serving people in need of the gospel. Jesus is the answer for both our guests and for our team members.