Serving Without Discipling
These days, we often see churches having a lot of activities. Even churches smaller in size also run many programs, sometimes beyond what the members can cope. This is a worrying phenomenon that need to be addressed. Here are some reasons:
1) Over fatigue. Many ministers are suffering from fatigue, some at the expense of their health. Some have even wrecked their own family because of too much serving. The case is similar to the lay people as well. Besides their secular vocation, they are also actively involved in the church. As a result, they are suffering from fatigue as well. It is good to serve God actively, but not to the extent of over-commit. It should be what we are able to manage and cope. It is not wise to sacrifice your health and family for the sake of God because God has never intend it to be this way.
2) Encourage false spirituality. Due to a shortage of manpower in the church, believers are put up to serve very quickly. Some have not even finished their follow-up. Of course, there are leaders who think that they would grow as they serve. But the truth is that the leaders often get too engrossed in the serving that they forget to look after the spiritual growth of the believers. This is especially true for those with certain talents like playing keyboard or guitar. The believers get to play the instruments before they know what worship is about or how to worship while playing. Some end up merely showing off their talents. We need to understand that most believers come from a background thinking that ‘to believe is to do’ mindset. This is not the kind of working faith that James was taking about but the pharisical faith that Jesus was against. It is a faith without a genuine relationship with Jesus. The focus is on doing rather than being. In fact, believers can think that serving God can gain favour from God and earn them a place in heaven. This kind of serving made them think that they are spiritual. But inside them, they are really hollow. It is time to do a reality check. Regularly pick a few believers who are very active in check and ask them about their spiritual life, we may be surprised to find some not spending time with God. We must be careful not to put people up too fast to serve. We may be killing them spiritually. It is just not possible to eat the fruits from a tree without waiting for it to grow. We may be just taking fruits from the old tree.
3) Compromise discipleship. With so many programs and activities, both the leaders and believers can hardly breathe. Even if they have the time, they would meet to discuss the programs rather than discipling. Well, the believers may be in some discipleship classes I supposed, but it may not be enough. Most disciples do not get transform as a result of attending some classes. They changed because of the people who walk along side with them. This is Jesus’ method. Serving God should not compromise discipleship but should complement it. We need to pace the believers correctly rather than letting them serve too much.
Serving God can part of the discipleship process, and it should be. But please be reminded that serving without discipling can take place too. It is like doing good without having a relationship with Jesus. It is like doing a lot of charity without spending time with our parents. Serving God should be done in the context of discipleship. It may time that we break away from our driven mentality be more deliberate about discipleship. Don’t just anyhow get people to fill in those places of service.