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20 Ways to Serve Now

Leah Tivis, Facilities Coordinator & Volunteer

Most of you are serving and do not even realize it.

  • Have you ever donated clothes to a non-profit?
  • Do you sponsor a child from World Vision or any other non-profit?
  • When you are in a drive thru, have you ever paid for the car behind you?
  • Ever opened the door for a stranger?
  • Purposely smiled at a stranger?

There are so many ways to serve and serving from where you are, can be simple. I think most people complicate the thought of serving. You do not need special training or a degree to extend the love of God in practical ways. All you need is a willing heart.

I've been serving for over 20 years and honestly, I have been just winging it! I naturally love to help so it's been easy for me to be available for opportunities. I think that has been an instrumental part of my serving, to simply be available and open. If this doesn't come easy for you, do not despair! I have plenty of ideas for just you :)  My friend, Ursala Houser, often says, "Embrace the awkward!". Even for the seasoned server, things can definitely get awkward, but what I love about that is, God humbles us and works through us. "Not my will, but yours be done". (Luke 22:42) Our lives are His. We are the hands and feet of Jesus.

"Christ has no body on earth but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours. Yours are the eyes through which Christ's compassion for the world is to look out; yours are the feet with which He is to go about doing good; and yours are the hands with which He is to bless us now." ~Saint Teresa of Avila

Here are 20 ways to serve:

1. Recognize when God calls you and try to be aware of situations around you. You are not responsible to save the homeless person on the corner that's asking for money, but you are called to love him and extend him God's boundless grace. You are not responsible for how he spends the money, you are responsible for the heart check that follows. Serving is a condition of the heart. My husband and I were missionaries overseas for a couple of years and the main lesson God shared with our hearts was, we are blessed to serve. It's an honor to serve. The people we served, blessed us so much more than us blessing them. God does the saving and we needed to just submit. It took us a hot minute to get that though! We went with the thought, "oh we are going to serve, save and bless so many!", and God humbly showed us that we needed the saving! He brought us to our knees and we finally recognized Him calling us to so much more than we could ever imagine.  

2. You can serve from home.  Whatever your home life is, there is always an opportunity to serve those around you; your spouse, children, parent, roommate, neighbor, trashman, postal worker, Amazon driver, door to door salesmen and whoever you come into contact with. My husband often leaves love notes for my sons and I, words of affirmation and appreciation for who we are/what we do. I cannot tell you how much that lifts our spirits. Sometimes I'll do one of my boys' chores to show His grace and you better believe they love that!
I bet your local postal worker would appreciate a thank you and bottle of water. We always ask, "would you like a bottle of water?" and during the holiday seasons we leave chocolates in our mailbox with an invitation to church service. Baking cookies for the neighbors would be a great introduction to God's love. My youngest son, Jacob, brings in the neighbor's trash cans every week. One of my love languages is gifts. The Dollar Tree or 99 Cent Store has great boxes of cards, crafts, and candy for all your Agape gift ideas. Use your imagination or Google it like I do, LOL! Have them accessible by the door, leave one on your child's pillow, in your husband's lunch box or on a neighbors' doorstep. Everyone loves a gift, especially for no other reason than showing God's love.

3. Your local church needs your service.  Serving your church can look like so many different things. Pray for your pastor, church staff, leaders, and volunteers. They are waging wars unseen and seen. We are called to cover them in prayer and lift them up. Pick a member of the staff and email them an encouragement or appreciation.
Tithe, your church is a non-profit organization. Your tithe does more than you will ever know. Especially our church with how outreach orientated we are. We love to serve and pour out His love on our community, this takes money to put in plainly.
Donate items or your time! We have so many outreach ministries you could support: The Hope Center, Monday Night Manna, Veterans Support Group, The Free Market, Angel Tree, Free Legal Clinic, and the Single Parent Fair (and I am probably forgetting some, forgive me!). Please visit our Compassion Ministry page if you would like to sign up to help.  We also have children's and youth ministries that could use your support! Go to our website and pick a ministry to pray for today :)

4. Serve your friends too.  This last year sure has been a doozy to say the least. When was the last time you did a friend check? We all have an inner circle but what about that outer circle? I have a friend that randomly texts me, no matter how much time has passed, just to check on me. She texts, "Wanted to let you know I'm thinking of you". Those texts are gold to me and God times them perfectly. I have another friend, Elena Brockway, that mails notes. They are short, sweet, filled with well wishes and encouragement. My heart is so blessed by those little love notes and on some days, I re-read them for a boost. These days have been so heavy, but if we acknowledge we are not alone and extend our view outward, the light spreads. The heaviness isn't so heavy anymore. Simply being aware of your friends Facebook or silence can be a warning, she/he needs some love and support. Meal Trains are a great tool to alleviate some pressure on a friend in need or a basket of goodies on their doorstep. I have a friend that has a lot of littles and I ask her occasionally, "you want a sitter so you can breathe for a minute?"  Help them move. Remind them of church service and events. Call them. Remember them. Spread His light and love.

5. You can serve in your community.  Donate money or time to a non-profit (Grace Resources, AV Dream Center, One Love Food Ministries are just a few here locally.)

6.  Donate to your local Goodwill or any non-profit thrift store.

7. Sign up to be a "big brother" or "big sister" at the Antelope Valley Boys and Girls Club

8. Pick up trash, literally anywhere!

9. Clean your table up before you pay the check.

10. Leave a great tip.

11. Leave an encouraging note to your waitress/waiter (I always write, "thanks so much, you were great!") on the receipt.

12. SMILE (Make it a normal thing)

13. Let someone go ahead of you in the grocery line.

14. Ask to talk to the manager and give that cashier a great review (I just did this, and they did not know how to respond, LOL! They were so appreciative.) Working with the public can be very taxing.

15. Pay for someone else's lunch/dinner (I left a note on their receipt that says, "You are loved.")

16. Embrace the awkward and invite that grumpy neighbor to Easter Service (We'll be providing invite cards with plants to give out at our outside service on March 21st at 11am, we'd LOVE to see you there).

17. Compliment a stranger (I cannot tell you how much it changes the atmosphere when someone feels seen).

18. Take water, tarps, canned foods, tents, jackets, wipes, toilet paper, camp chairs, socks, beanies, brand new underwear, sanitary napkins, trash bags, lip balm, sunscreen, flashlights and really anything you can think of while you camp that is safe to OUR HOMELESS COMMUNITY. Please never go alone and be aware of your surroundings. Engage in conversations, LISTEN then ask them their needs, let them know local resources, encourage them, respect them, and pray with them, calling them by name.

19. Pray for people our homeless community as well as those in your neighborhood.

20. Pray for our community representatives (boards/Mayors/Governor/President).

Above all, choose kindness and grace.
Have you ever been to a candlelight service? All the lights are off, it is pitch black and everyone holds an unlit candle. The pastor lights a candle, then lights someone else's candle, then that person gives their flame to someone else and so forth. Slowly the light spreads, my eyes fill with tears, till the light reaches me, I finally get to extend my light to another, until the whole room is lit by candle flames, looking like a clear Sequoia night sky, full of sparkling and twinkling gems. This to me is serving. It spreads until the darkness cannot hide and His glory fills the room with unspeakable joy. You precious one, are the light of the world. (Matthew 5:14)

If you'd like to discuss anything I've shared, please feel free to email me at [email protected]

In His light,
Leah Tivis

1 Comment

Robin Aikenhead - March 15th, 2021 at 11:17pm

Thank you, Leah! So good! I love all the creative ways you mentioned to serve. 😍



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