It is inescapable that Christians are not called just to be saved, but also to serve—and the setting in which that service is expressed is the church.
When we consider life in the church, Jesus set the pattern for us. He spent His ministry serving the men and women in the various communities through which He passed. “Wherever He went, the tidings of His mercy preceded Him. Where He had passed, the objects of His compassion were rejoicing in health, and making trial of their new-found powers.”1 “Where love exists, there is power and truth in the life. Love does good and nothing but good. Those who have love bear fruit unto holiness, and in the end everlasting life.”2
In any successful small group, there exists a central mission or passion that brings the members of that group together and enables them to do amazing things. “We are God’s workmanship” (Eph. 2:10, NIV). People joined in community can motivate and inspire each other to achieve things much greater than they could do alone. The Bible tells us that “where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them” (Matt. 18:20, NKJV). For people to come together and organize their missions, it’s important for each individual to know his or her mission.
Once we realize what God has given us a passion for, we can find others with similar or complementary passions and work to make a difference in this world in His name. Everyone looks for purpose in life. God created human beings to want to be part of something bigger than just themselves. Ephesians 2:10 tells us that we look for a purpose in life because we are meant to have one. God created people with a plan in mind. On some level, perhaps subconsciously, we all know that, and often spend our lives trying to find that purpose.
Ministry means service. On a personal level, as well as on a group level, through service we can realize our purpose and reach the potential of what God has made us to be. Figuring out our God-given purpose isn’t an easy task. Some know from their childhood exactly what they are meant to do with the rest of their lives. For many others, it’s a long process of trial and error before even a general direction or area of interest is figured out.
For all of us, even those of us who know who we are and what God wants from us, we need to be aware that our roles are always changing. What God asks from us now may not be the same as what God asks from us in a year. Also, God calls each person differently. Purpose is not “one size fits all.” God created us as individuals, and He calls us as individuals. Each of us must determine what God is calling us to do.
An important step in finding personal callings is to discover those gifts and talents that God has given us. These are the tools with which we will help God’s “will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10, NKJV). God gives us particular talents for a particular reason. When you know what materials are in your tool chest, you might have more of an idea of what to build. Once we know what skills and talents we have, we must discover how best to use them for God.
When we begin to understand what we are called to do, we can join small groups of people with like passions and purposes to become a powerful team for the glory of God.
Small groups can encourage, inspire, and empower individuals to become more than they ever could become on their own.3