A Perspective on Service

Lisa McCormick


I would not consider myself a helper. I am married to a helper, and unlike my husband, I am definitely not the first person to volunteer to do something for someone else. There are so many people in our church who volunteer an incredible amount of their time and resources to the various ministries we have at Imago and to other important charities and organizations in our community. I was a little surprised that I was asked to write an article about service, but maybe if you’re not innately service oriented like me, you’ll relate to my perspective.

I started serving in the Genesis children’s ministry soon after my husband and I started attending Imago Dei church 9 years ago — before we had any children of our own. I wanted to do something to give back to this life-giving church and saw helping in the nursery as low-hanging fruit. I thought, surely I can babysit some kids. I did that as a teenager and survived. Serving in the nursery was mostly fun. Sometimes it was hard, but it didn’t require much effort, and I knew it made a significant difference to the parents attending church, so I continued to help out. After all this time, I’m still helping in the nursery.

This past spring, Dustin called and asked me if I wanted to be the new scheduler for Genesis. This means I have to fill 15 different slots with volunteers every Sunday, coordinating with everyone’s busy schedules and helping to find replacements if someone can’t help at the last minute. That’s 60 slots a month! (This is absolutely a shameless plug to volunteer in Genesis if you’re looking for a place to serve. We can always use more volunteers.)

My automatic response is almost never yes to anything — even good things. So when it comes to making a sacrifice to do service, I want to say no. It’s not that I don’t want to help people, but it’s so much easier to keep the status quo. It’s so easy to justify why I’m too busy, that I don’t feel like I’ll be able to put the amount of time or energy into helping that I want to put into everything I do. It’s just easier to do nothing. To keep things the same. I tell myself these lies. If I don’t change the situation, I can control the situation. If I don’t try, I won’t fail. And failure is terrifying to me.

But, I’m working on saying yes to more things, so I said yes to Dustin that day. And wouldn’t it be great if I said it already changed my life? But honestly, it hasn’t really. I’ve gotten to know a few more faces at Imago, but all in all, my life is pretty much the same. However, I know that small changes over time can create big changes.

I like The Message translation of what Jesus says in Luke 6:38: “Give away your life; you’ll find life given back, but not merely given back — given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity.”

Maybe a life-changing experience is not the point. Maybe it’s not even just about helping someone else. Maybe it’s also about learning to be open to new experiences by saying yes to things that require a little sacrifice. If I think about all the good things that I have in my life, most of those things have also required some amount of sacrifice: marriage, children, health, following Jesus.

So I’m glad I said yes to serving more deeply in our church, and I would invite you to look at the places where you can give away your life. I pray that you are given back life with bonus and blessing.

FYI: Imago is hosting a Ministry Fair in the Parkview Room on Vision Sunday, August 26th. There will be booths set up for all the ministries we have at Imago. Have a snack and take a look at some opportunities to serve.

Lisa lives in Elmwood and is a stay-at-home mother of three (Lily, Jane, and Leon), wife of one (Joel). She loves conversations with adults, science, and watching Netflix at night while her kids are sleeping.

Christina Hite