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Galatians 5:13,14 …only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
It is clear in Scripture that we as followers of Jesus Christ have embedded within us the heart of Christ. And the heart of Christ is to serve others and bring His love, truth, and forgiveness to all mankind. We have the wonderful privilege and responsibility to follow Christ’s example and display visibly to others around us God’s goodness and love. One way we can do this is serving others in our church and community.
Here are four ways we can serve together as a group during the holiday season.
1. Serve together at your CHURCH events/services
Most churches will have special services and events during this Holiday season. These are perfect opportunities for groups to serve in your church together. I have found that it is such a blessings to serve together. It creates a bond, allows the group to get to know each other in a different setting, and facilitates discipleship opportunities. Serving together at a church event during the holidays will also help to introduce newer group members to other people in your church family. Group members will have an opportunity to possibly discover their spiritual gifts or develop them in this capacity as well. With the current COVID restrictions in many places, this may look differently for some. This may look more virtual, like your group committing to join together as a group in making sure your online services or events are shared as much as you can through social media, or even praying for the special services. Find out what is going on this holiday season at your church and plug your group in somehow!
2. Serve together in your COMMUNITY
During the holidays there are a plethora of opportunities to serve within your community. There are food banks, homeless shelters, salvation army bell ringers, Christmas caroling at nursing homes, sending care packages or letters to the military or Toys for Tots to name a few. Find an organization that your church is comfortable with and set a date for your group to serve. Angel Tree is also another organization in which you can show the love of Christ to children whose mother or father is in prison by purchasing a gift for them. This can lead to future ministering to the families. These type of projects can be challenging during this COVID pandemic, but many organizations have a virtual option or mail-in option. Check out what is happening in your community during this holiday season and see how your group can be a blessing!
3. Adopt a FAMILY in need in your church or community
If there is a family that you, someone in your group, or your pastor is aware of that is struggling financially or maybe just a family that has been a blessing to your group or church, your group could “adopt” them for Christmas. Your group members would buy presents for the family, collect them together and either present them to the family as gifts from your group, or you could give it anonymously (maybe your church name), which may be less intimidating for the family. This would work for someone in your church or for someone in your community that your just want to show the love of Christ to. Identify a family to that needs to see God’s blessings during this season and give them some presents!
4. Minister to the lonely and depressed
This is a difficult season for many people. The holidays remind some people of loved ones they have lost, or the reality of their loneliness. Pray for lonely or grieving, send cards to them, and even mail gifts to brighten their season. Also, depending on your COVID restrictions, the group could plan a party or get together and include those that have lost a loved one or do not have family around. This can certainly apply to college students who may be stuck at college because they can not travel home. There are many around us, in our churches or in our communities that are lonely and sad during the holidays. Be sensitive to these people around us and minister as God leads your group!
A bonus way to serve as a group during the holiday season is to pitch in as a group to get your Lead Pastor or someone on your Pastoral staff (leadership team) a special gift! Minister to your Ministers!
These are just a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing, and your heart yearning to serve others during the coming holiday season! Whatever you decide to do, do it with the motivation of showing others the love of Christ. You never know what fruit your act of compassion may yield in this life and in eternity!