What does serving on a team mean to me? I am not sure which part of this Cultivate value is more impactful to me – SERVING GOD or being part of a TEAM. I’m going to share a bit about both, but before I do, let me introduce myself. I’m Denise White, Pastor Jeff White’s wife, and together we are loving, leading, and serving at Sandals Church Moreno Valley.
Four years ago, we came to Sandals from a small church in Riverside. It was the only church either of us had ever attended. Over the years, Jeff and I both served in a variety of roles as volunteers, leaders, teachers, and eventually staff. Sometimes it was because there was a need to be filled, but other times we intentionally used the gifts God gave us and stepped into a role or started a ministry.
In May of 2013, we left our church because Jeff was invited to join the staff at Sandals Church as the Director of Family Ministries. It became clear that God was calling us to serve Him at Sandals and a new season of ministry was about to begin. Our hesitation came in leaving the church and friends we knew, but that was replaced with an excitement in serving the God we love.
Serving God is an act of obedience but more than that, it is a response of the heart.
We serve because we respond to God’s affections for us. We serve to show our gratitude for all He’s done.
We love because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19)
He loved us so much He sacrificed His Son for us to save and give us eternal life. (John 3:16)
He chose to love us even in our brokenness. (Romans 5:8)
Rest on these thoughts for a moment and respond to God.
If to love Him is to serve Him and to serve Him is to serve His church,
how then should we serve His church?
We should serve the way Jesus served us! We serve with a posture of humility. We put others first. We love unconditionally, and we serve sacrificially. Our attitude should be the kind that was shown us by Jesus Christ, who, though He was God, did not demand and cling to His rights as God, but laid aside His mighty power and glory, taking the disguise of a slave and becoming like men. He humbled himself even further, going so far as to actually die a criminal’s death on a cross. (Philippians 2:5-8)
“Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ.”
1 Corinthians 11:1 NIV
“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give His life
as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28 NLT
“Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are His dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.” Ephesians 5:1-3 NLT
As we transitioned to Sandals, it didn’t take long before our family found places to serve. At a church our size, there is always opportunity. Plugging into a team was essential in grafting ourselves into this church. It was not something we had to convince ourselves to do or negotiate a way to fit into our schedules.
Serving is a part of who we are.
One of the beautiful aspects of serving God and His church is the invitation to participate in what God is doing. So many great things are happening at Sandals Church. Lives are being changed, from the littlest kids to our more seasoned adults. As we serve within our church, we get to be a part of the amazing things that God is doing.
I like to say we get a front row seat!
What does serving others at Sandals look like?
It might be holding a baby while parents listen to a much needed sermon, or giving a warm smile and friendly hello as a new family walks in our doors. Maybe it’s teaching a 3 year old what it looks like to pray.
It could mean operating a camera so people can watch the message from other locations, or you could be the one who directs cars so nobody gets frustrated while parking before service.
Maybe you’re called to pray over the man who just learned he has cancer, or listen to the woman whose marriage is falling apart. You could be a group leader and relationally draw others into a deeper walk with Jesus.
Or maybe, just maybe, it’s making cookies for our new guests.
God in all His power and majesty could share the good news and bring healing to broken places without us, but He doesn’t. He’s called us to be part of that plan so we will see His powerful work unfold and give Him honor and praise along the way.
God desires for you to love Him, serve Him, and serve His church.
You just need to respond to His invitation.
- BE WILLING: “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” Colossians 3:23 NLT
- BE YOU: “Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.” Galatians 6:4-5 MSG
Jeff and I have served on many teams and ministries over the years and I hope many more to come. We serve because we are willing.
We said YES.
Most recently, we said yes to serving at Sandals Church Moreno Valley. Yes to stepping out of our comfort zone. Yes to serve until God leads us otherwise. We say yes to where we are needed. And we serve as we are – ordinary people. We don’t have an extraordinary talent, we just utilize the gifts God has given us to the best of our ability. But we don’t stop there. We allow ourselves to grow in those gifts as God leads.
Remember, God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called!
God has given each of you some special abilities; be sure to use them to help each other, passing on to others God’s many kinds of blessings. Are you called to preach? Then preach as though God himself were speaking through you. Are you called to help others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies so that God will be glorified through Jesus Christ—to Him be glory and power forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 4:10-11 TLB
It is my deep hope that through my story you will realize just how much you are loved by our Father. He doesn’t need us but HE WANTS US. Say yes to Him. Say yes to his gift of salvation. Say yes to his love. Say yes to his calling on your life.
That’s what serving on HIS TEAM means to me!
Love to all of you,
LET’S DIG DEEPER…
- Think of all the ways God has loved and served you. How might your service be a response to His sacrifice?
- God gave up His son for our salvation. What do you need to give up in order to serve others?
- Consider your gifts, talents, and resources. Where and how do you think God can use those at Sandals?
- Are you ready to answer God’s call to serve? If not, what would it take for you to say yes to Him?
If you’re ready and willing to serve on a team at Sandals Church, you can learn more here.
Denise White is the Cultivate Coordinator at Sandals Church Moreno Valley, where she loves doing life and ministry alongside her husband of 26 years, Campus Pastor Jeff White. Her joy is watching her children, Amber (23) and Tanner Callison, Justin (21) and Emily (17) become who God has created them to be. Denise loves creating, event planning, traveling and spending quality time with friends. While she’s known for baking her delicious Friday cookies, her secret wish is for a personal chef to cook dinner every night!