I’m reading through a book on service called “Connect” by Nelson Searcy. In one of the opening chapters “In a Word” Searcy discusses how one would describe Christianity in a single word. He explains that he had many terms in mind (love, Jesus, salvation, heaven) but settled on “servant” as the best word to describe Christianity.
He then went on to discuss how pivotal love is in this equation. Love is not the result of Christianity, but rather the motivation – love for God and love for people. He posits that service is the best word to describe Christianity. And I would tend to agree with Him, but only to a point. You see, if Christianity could be equated with service, then once someone had become a servant, they would have achieved the goal of Christianity and that would be the end of that and nothing more would be required.
I’d like to expound on Searcy’s declaration a little and say that the best word to describe Christianity is “discipleship”. Yes, love must be the motivation, and service must be a result, but it cannot end there. Jesus did not declare in Matthew 28:19: Therefore go and make servants of all nations. He declared,
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations”
Jesus commanded us to serve, and to become great at it, but we need to pass this on through discipleship.
So where does that leave service? Well, it’s quite simple – right in the middle. Service is a means of discipleship. We are motivated to serve by our love for God and our love for His people, and we can use this to disciple others.
We have an adage at my local church, Renown Church, which describes our discipleship process:
God’s Heart, Our Hand, Good Coffee
This lines up beautifully with the principles that Searcy teaches and I extend upon:
God’s Heart = Love
Our Hands = Serve
Good Coffee = Disciple
Do we need to start at God’s heart? Ideally yes, but practically, no. You can serve and even disciple before you know God’s heart, and God can use any means to cause you to fall in love with Him, just as long as you get there and then help others to get there.
I think of it like this:
Love is the fuel. Service is the vehicle. And discipleship is the direction.