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  • Writer's pictureSt. Matthew's Blog

Know and Share God's Love through Serving

At St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, our mission is simple yet profound: To Know and Share God's Love. Our vision is to develop a deeper connection with God, each other, and those in need in our global community.

Serving the Sterling Community Food Drive

In our community, we believe in embodying God's love through meaningful service to others, fostering an environment where all are embraced regardless of background or belief. We aim to help every individual experience the transformative power of God's love in their lives.

We understand that faith transcends the confines of traditional church walls. That's why we embrace the idea that God exists within culture and everyday life. We strive to offer practical ways to integrate faith into the fabric of daily life, coming together to seek God's presence, find solace in community, and celebrate the abundant blessings of life.

Are we Serving or Volunteering?

A few years ago, a group discussion leader in a Bible study experienced weariness and resentment from the demands of leadership. This individual encountered a document titled "Are you a servant or a volunteer?" which led to a significant realization: their attitude was more aligned with volunteering than serving.

This experience prompted a deeper reflection on the difference between volunteering and serving from a Christian perspective.

What’s the Difference?

At the core, the distinction between volunteering and serving is about the heart's attitude. Here are some key differences:

Focus on People vs. Work: Both focus on giving back to the community, but they show it in differing ways. Servants tend to be more people-oriented. Volunteers tend to be more task-oriented.

Intention and Expected Feeling: Servants do what they do because the act of helping others and serving God gives them joy. Volunteers do what they do because they feel a sense of satisfaction from the completion of work.

Willingness to Sacrifice: Volunteers are more often than not only able to sacrifice what their schedules will allow. Servants are more willing and able to sacrifice their schedules if it means serving others.

Commitment to the Cause: Servants are deeply committed and remain steadfast even when it’s tough. Volunteers, while committed, have less obligation to hold out if things prove to be too difficult for them.

Understanding these differences is crucial, especially in a church setting where both roles are necessary but should be approached with the right mindset.

Embracing Servanthood

In church life, some people may volunteer for many activities, while others might only be able to contribute occasionally. Both are valuable. However, shifting our mindset from volunteering to serving can transform our approach, making our actions more heartfelt and aligned with our faith.

Depending on where you might be in your faith journey, consider the following:

Exploring Christianity:

New to Faith:

  • Take steps to expand your faith by committing to a place to serve weekly.

  • Participate in Outreach programs and church events.

  • Explore taking a more active role in leadership areas of serving.

Fully Committed to your Faith:

  • In addition to committing to a service ministry group, take the initiative to find new opportunities to use your gifts.

  • Stretch yourself outside of your comfort zone.

  • Identify and address needs in the church and our community. Look for areas that need attention, serve in more existing ministries, become a mentor and leader in areas of service.

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms

As Peter 4:10 states, "Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faith stewards of God's grace." When considering how to support the community, ask yourself: "Am I a volunteer, or am I a servant?" The difference can shape not just your actions, but your heart.

At St. Matthew’s, we strive to embody our mission and vision, making every act of service a testament to God’s love.

Help serve our community by assisting with our VBS program! > SIGN UP

VBS in Sterling VA volunteer

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