I braced myself to hear whatever came out of her mouth next.
“Here’s the problem,” she began. “I want to serve and have a lot to offer. I just have some strong opinions about a few things that I won’t budge on and sense would cause problems here.”
It wasn’t like I didn’t know this.
This new attendee of our church had taken me aside a few months earlier to explain how she wanted her kids plugged into our youth group… as long as I knew that they’d likely have different opinions about hot topics like homosexuality and more. She’d explained, “You need to know that I’ve even told them if they ever feel attracted to someone of the same sex that they should just go for it. So, will they be welcome here?”
That conversation was difficult in itself. Apparently we were now at the next level, because she wanted to serve in our church.
Which raises an interesting question – who gets to serve?
That’s a loaded question, isn’t it? ‘
For that matter, how is it decided to who gets to serve?
Think of every category: volunteer youth workers; chaperones on mission trips; small group leaders; attendance takers; snack providers; drivers for scavenger hunts; worship environment creators; newsletter makers; curriculum selectors.
I can already see you drooling over your keyboard with whatever response you’re eager to write. I could probably stop sharing right now. My words are just taking up more space on your screen, keeping you that much further from the “comment” box.
After all, your mind is already made up.
Hang out with me instead in the tension of grace and holiness.
Because God’s grace never trumps His holiness.
Because God’s holiness never trumps His grace.
(You may need to read that again.)
Whether you’re a part of a non-denominational movement, a church with a defined creed or a well-established segment of Christendom, there are people in your congregation who don’t fit in.
Truth be told, you’re one of them. If you haven’t consciously realized this, today’s your day. You won’t always agree with everything that your larger authority structure claims and will need to wrestle with it… just like people will see your blind spots and call you out on it.
That’s actually quite biblical.
Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil. (1 Thessalonians 5:21-22)
Within any faith community (including those that we have great affection for), we must always be prepared to have a “lover’s quarrel” with whatever claims humans make about God and His Kingdom. The goal isn’t to be a critic, but to offer critical thinking in love. Even the best theology is incomplete.
Now… that said…
who gets to serve?
According to several Bible passages, there are standards to consider based on the role. Here are a few popular ones (feel free to suggest others):
With that data available, hopefully we now have all the ingredients for a proper conversation on this. So as to not stifle your comments. I’ll avoid sharing for the moment where my aforementioned dialogue ended up.
In the meantime, wipe the drool of your face and keyboard.
We need your perspective and comments on this so we can have a lover’s quarrel with Scripture together.
Chime in… and thank you for loving students!