Last week, we talked about our first two values here at Gateway: Worshipping and Connecting. This week, let's talk about our third and fourth values: Serving and Growing. We will also spend a few minutes discussing two other areas that are close to our heart here at Gateway: Giving and the Next Generation.
How to Grow: Chapter 3 (cont.)
Value #3 — Serve
This value specifically focuses on serving within our church. The Bible teaches us that every follower of Jesus has been given a spiritual gift. If we continue in the Ephesians passage, the pastor’s…
“responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love (Ephesians 4:12-16, NLT).""
We are to serve each other. You are to serve the people of this church because, when you don’t...
- You are keeping this church immature.
- You are keeping us from unity.
- You are keeping us from measuring up to the fullness of God’s love.
- You are not using your gifts that God has given you.
So our expectation is that all of our members will serve this congregation.
Children’s ministry, youth ministry, worship team, tech team, greeters, ushers, parking lot attendants, Life Group leaders, prayer ministry—if we do it—you can serve there. We are a church that serves one another. This is what we expect of our members. We don’t have this expectation of non-members, but this is what sets apart our members from people who have not made a formal commitment.
Value #4 — Go
Finally, we want everyone to be “goers.” In Matthew chapter twenty-eight, Jesus says, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age (Matthew 28:18b-20, NLT).”
Jesus said, “If you believe in Me, be sure of this, I am with you for all eternity.” That is an amazing promise. So do you believe in Jesus? If so, He will be with you forever.
But you cannot ignore what Jesus said before His promise to always be with you. He told you to go and make disciples. And the reason why you are to go and make disciples is because Jesus is with you. See how that works?
Jesus was a disciple maker. He had the twelve disciples and hundreds of others. And Jesus is still making disciples. The only difference is that today you are the means by which Jesus makes disciples.
- To be a Christian is to be a disciple maker.
- To follow Jesus means that you follow His disciple-making lifestyle.
- It’s impossible to follow Jesus and not make disciples.
So we expect all of our members to be goers. We offer both local and global missions trip opportunities for you to go and make disciples. We have “Family Go and Serve” nights every month so our families can be “goers” together no matter the age of your children.
Why do we do all of this? Because we desire to be a going church and to be a member at Gateway means you make a commitment of being a goer along with us. We don’t have this expectation of non-members, but this is what sets apart our members from people who have not made a formal commitment yet.
Although giving is not one of our four values, we do expect that all of our members will be givers. God’s Word is clear that the members of a church are responsible for providing financially to their church. But giving is not only an expectation, it is also a warning. God has been gracious in warning us about the deceitfulness of wealth and our weakness in being more dependent upon money than we are on Him.
One way to fight that temptation is by being generous. So each week, we pass the baskets to collect our tithes and offerings.
- This time of giving is a time of worship.
- This is where we get to participate in and support all that God is doing in and through Gateway.
- This is where we go from consumers to contributors.
Everything you have is God’s. Every dollar you have is on loan and you are to be a good steward of it. So everything that your purse or wallet represent—your wealth, income, finances—are really God’s. You’re just managing His money.
So the question is not, “How much am I supposed to give?” The real question is, “How much of Your money, Jesus, do you want to spend on me?”
When we realize that we are not the owner of our finances—we are stewards of Someone else’s finances—the question changes. And at Gateway, we believe that every member will be a giver because Jesus wants to use His finances to continue accomplishing the mission He has for Gateway Church.
Our ministry for kids and students (birth through high school) is called our Next Generation ministry. It has the same values that we have just explored. We want our kids to value the same things that we value as adults.
So our kids have a time of worship every Sunday—during Large Group for elementary age students and Wiggle Worship for our preschoolers. They have Life Groups that meet while the adults are in the worship services and opportunities to serve and go during our Family Go and Serve nights. We also encourage elementary age students to serve as greeters and in other ministries at Gateway because our kids are an important part of this church.
The same is true for our middle and high school students. For worship, our youth director wants every student to attend one of our worship services. Parents should not let their teen(s) skip out on the worship service. It is their first discipleship step at Gateway.
Youth Life Groups meet every week. These groups are where our students connect to one another and to an adult leader. We also want our youth serving in the church. We have youth serving in the nursery, the children’s ministry, on the tech team, and in many other ministries.
Finally, our youth are goers. We have mission trips every year for the youth. They have been overseas and to various places in the US. If you have a teen, be sure to support them in going.
This isn’t everything that we do as a church, but the point is that no matter your age, here at Gateway we want you to worship, connect, serve, and go. This is what we value. This is how we help you grow in your faith. And this is how we accomplish our mission of helping you “connect people to Jesus Christ and to one another.”