Bible Studies for Life Lesson for Sept- 18- Find Your Place of Service
September 1 2011 by Catherine Painter, author, speaker from Raleigh

Focal Passage: Romans 12:3-15

While our daughter Melanie was in labor, Jack and I made ourselves “small” in her hospital room. We wanted to be present to welcome this newborn with no past, only a future, into our family.

As Nathanael inhaled his first breath, the doctor and nurse hovered to assist him in getting a healthy start in life.

The following Sunday, we returned to the church Jack served as interim pastor. At the invitation, a woman named Janie responded.

She had just breathed spiritually for the first time. She, too, was a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17).

The members lined up and welcomed her into the church, but because Janie was an adult, the church failed to recognize her as the spiritual infant she was.

At first Janie was regular in worship, but soon her attendance became sporadic.

In time, she stopped coming. Knowing how critical the months are following an adult’s spiritual birth, we kept in touch, but in time, without being assimilated, she dropped out of church.

Months later, a church leader asked me whether I remembered a young woman who once sat in the middle of the worship center during church. Snapping his fingers, he said, “Oh, you know, What’s-Her-Name?”

I compared Janie’s spiritual birth to Nathanael’s physical birth. How impossible it would have been for his excited siblings ever to address him as “What’s-His-Name.” But by failing to assimilate Janie, the church silently communicated, “From now on, you’re on your own.”

Hopefully your church maintains a heightened alert to the needs of new Christians as they find their place of service. Both church and new members bear responsibility.

New members should introduce themselves, understanding that members have forgotten how it feels to be new. They attend every session of the new members’ class and refer to the church as we, not they. They note activities listed in the church bulletin that they can participate in and study the church’s pictorial directory to put names with faces. They attend fellowships and meals, mingling with different people each time.

The church’s responsibility includes introducing themselves until new members can call their names.

They invite new members to socials, offer rides or directions, and include new members in their conversations. The church draws new members into tasks in the church so they can find their paths to service through their talents and spiritual gifts (Romans 12:4-5).

Spiritual gifts are listed in Ephesians 4:11, 1 Corinthians 12:8-11, and Romans 12:6-8.

Reviewing these lists might reveal gifts you need to rediscover and put to use for God’s glory.

(EDITOR’S NOTE — Coming soon readers will see the Oct. 2 lesson for Explore the Bible lesson, a curriculum published by LifeWay. The Sept. 25 Formations lesson will be the last lesson from Formations, a curriculum printed by Smyth & Helwys Publishing. LifeWay’s Bible Studies for Life will continue to be printed.)
9/1/2011 7:59:00 AM by Catherine Painter, author, speaker from Raleigh | with 0 comments

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