Grace-filled or grumpy? Pt 4 Opportunities to serve

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Relay batonHomework – did you do it?
Last time I urged you to list the things you felt you could contribute to the church at this stage in your life. I hope you were obedient! I would now like to add some suggestions to your list.

Discipleship and mentoring
Jesus’ final command was to go and make disciples (Matt 28:19). What a great season in life you are now in to do this with less pressures on your time! You may no longer be an activist and implementer, but you have a wealth of knowledge and experience to share. But be sure to do so in humility – and remain a learner! For instance, young men and women in the church may value just sitting with you and asking questions, or discussing a topic. I have breakfast regularly with some young men and we are working our way through Terry Virgo’s book ‘God’s Lavish Grace’. There is much food for thought and discussion there, and it allows other matters to be talked about that relate to their particular life circumstances.

Skype, too, can be a great tool to help with discipling. I have one friend who used to travel widely who now regularly Skypes men in other nations and encourages, advises and teaches them the ways of God. What a mentoring opportunity; truly going to make disciples – without going!

Do life together
I know of older women who have invited younger women to their homes to join in their daily activities and imparted godly wisdom and counsel as they have done so. Not only does this deepen friendship but it allows younger women to ask very practical questions and observe an older woman in her own environment where they are seen ‘warts and all’! It is good to have evidence of the person’s life in this way, not just hearing them talk in public. Surely this is Titus 2:3-5 in practice? I recommend Wendy Virgo’s book Life issues: Studies in Titus for Women – although sadly this can now be
difficult to obtain.

What about family life? Parenting nowadays is often different from the ways we did it. The oft-felt necessity for both mums and dads to work is now the norm. So, this is a great chance for you to be involved with young people, not only your own grandchildren but others in the church. I have been thrilled recently to be asked by a family in our church to help a 6 year old develop his skills in making things from wood (one of my own hobbies). What an opportunity to input the younger generation with fun and Biblical values as we work together!

You have built up a wealth of knowledge over the decades. What about capturing this in a blog? Not everyone feels able to do this but I am encouraged by the response to my own blog and also to learn that others, such as John Groves, who has led several churches, are now writing regularly in semi-retirement so that they can continue to be a blessing to others. For the more ambitious even a book might be a possibility!

Helping those in need
There are many other ways to be involved. For instance, have you offered to help as a ‘volunteer’ in one of the ministries of the church, perhaps helping at a Foodbank or visiting people in their homes?

Above all, you can be a pray-er. There are so many people who need their arms holding up in the battle and someone to help them hold the shield of faith – teachers, social workers, those in public life, some who are ill, church leaders and so on. To be part of a ‘prayer shield’ for such people is a privilege. There is a good book by Peter Wagner ‘Prayer Shield’ which I read many years ago (now updated) that is helpful in this area.

If you still do not know where to start in finding a fulfilling and fruitful place of service you may find my book Discover and Serve helpful (see side panel).

Next time I will speak to the leaders of churches about mobilising this generation.