Strategically choosing a place of ministry

Want to really be of help somewhere?

"We have different gifts according to the grace given us."-- Romans 12:6

A major requirement of the Ministry, Church and Society course at Southern Nazarene University was giving at least 8 hours of service to a ministry project. Even if you are not taking that course, as a believer you should be serving the Kingdom in some way. Here is help on finding that place of service that fits you.

"But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." -- Matthew 20:26-28

Are you searching for a place to get plugged in? Follow these five principles.

1. Look for the least known, least understood tasks.
Such jobs are more likely to need your help than tasks that everyone already knows about and feels they can do.
2. Seek to empower others.
Is there something you can do to empower other people in their ministries? Are there things you can do to channel other people into ministry and thus help the church or ministry organization turn their vision into reality?
3. Look for things that are touching people's lives.
Don't do something just because others are. Seek out ministry opportunities that are not well-publicized.
4. Be wary of effortless-sounding ways to do ministry.
Check them out. Don't be fast and loose with trying to accomplish something for God and expect Him to make up the difference. Ministry can mean making yourself vulnerable. It can mean sacrificial giving of yourself.
5. Recognize the need for behind-the-scenes workers who work without recognition.
Front-line activity suffers if supply lines are not kept in good shape. Are there things you can do to free up others from mundane, time-consuming repetitive tasks?
Be willing to let others tackle the headline-grabbing tasks.

Adapted from material in the Mission Frontiers Bulletin

"Everybody can be great because everybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You don't have to know Plato and Aristotle to serve. You don't have to know Einstein's theory of relativity to serve. You don't have to know the second law of thermodynamics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love"
  — Martin Luther King, Jr.

Where have others done their ministry projects?

Here's a listing of where MCS students served.

"Now that I have built relationships, this is an essential part of my week. I don't even see it as volunteer service. It's more like spending time with my friends" — Katie Tate

Volunteering in OKC: Where others have served

"There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord." -- 1 Corinthians 12:4-5

Looking for a place of service (and to earn some hours of required volunteer work)? Here are the locations where Ministry, Church and Society students at Southern Nazarene University put in their required volunteer service hours.

"So often I hear of people who are serving, but when they don't get the recognition or the 'warm fuzzies' they expected, they get frustrated and even bitter. It is so important to understand that when we are serving it is never about us, our needs, our desires, or us being recognized for our service. It is about loving others as ourselves, the way Jesus taught us." -- Betsy Stuetze, youth pastor

Southern Nazarene University offers liberal arts education within the framework of a Christian worldview. Some of what that means is captured by the initial question and answer of the 1647 Westminster Shorter Catechism: "Question: What is the chief end of man? Answer: A man's chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever."

The conviction at SNU is that such glorifying of God is best done, not through cloistered living in an isolated bubble, but through active involvement in ministry and service. As John Wesley said it, "The Gospel of Christ knows . . . of no holiness but social holiness." By that, he meant that true holiness does not mean being physically separated "from" the world but rather being "in" the world without being part "of" it. That concept of active involvement complements SNU's educational philosophy that views hands-on learning as an important partner of classroom instruction.

Thus, while all SNU students will take five courses in the School of Theology and Ministry, amassing passing grades in those courses is not considered the sum total of what it takes to produce "responsible Christian persons." Whether for credit in a course or as a co-curricular activity, active participation in local and global service and ministry is more than simply a wonderful goal that SNU tries to get its graduates to aim for in the future. That students will seek out service learning opportunities in local and global ministry venues is a "given" for students during their time on the Southern Nazarene University campus.

"As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace." -- 1 Peter 4:10

What is "service learning"?

Service learning is a dynamic educational approach that intertwines academic learning with community service. Unlike traditional classroom settings, service learning engages students in hands-on experiences that address real-world issues, fostering a deeper understanding of course materials while simultaneously making meaningful contributions to society. Through service learning, students not only acquire knowledge and skills but also develop empathy, social responsibility, and a sense of civic engagement. By actively participating in community projects and reflecting on their experiences, students gain practical insights into the complexities of societal challenges and learn to apply their academic learning to create positive change in their communities.

In essence, service learning cultivates well-rounded individuals who are not only academically proficient but also compassionate and socially conscious citizens.

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-- Howard Culbertson,

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