If you are a Christian, then you don’t just need to be going to your local church, you also need to be serving in your local church. On a Sunday morning, this is going to look different for different people. Some of us will serve in some formal, official capacity such as Sunday school teacher, greeter, usher, nursery worker, singer on the worship team, etc. But there are not enough official positions for everybody to have one, so what about everybody else? The Bible tells us that each part of the body of Christ should be working properly, so that we are built up together in love (Ephesians 4:16), so how can you serve if you don’t have a title?
There are many ways to serve informally at your weekly church gathering and I hope to write about more of them in the future, but for today allow me to simply concentrate on one: loving the children in your church. Contrary to what you may think, you don’t have to work in the children’s ministry at your church to do this. No doubt you pass up children walking with their parents to the worship service every week. Take the time to look them in the eye, smile and say hello. In fact, I suggest you kneel down and get on their level to shake their hand and engage them in a bit of playful conversation. Ask them what they learned in Sunday school or how their family is planning on spending their Sunday afternoon. Dedicate yourself to showing the children in your church (not just your own) that you, like God, care for them. You can make a significant difference in helping to create an environment at your church where the children sense the sincere joy of following Christ and living in community with his people if you will simply pay them attention.
I understand that we live in a world where the threat of sexual predators is real, so we must be careful when we do this. But unfortunately, so many people in the church have turned to a habit of almost avoiding children altogether for fear of suspicion or accusation. This reaction takes the pendulum to the other extreme and prevents children from seeing firsthand the effects that God’s grace produces in a person when they trust in Jesus for salvation. The children in our churches are hearing the gospel repeatedly; if we will choose to love them actively, then they will see the power of the gospel as well.