ByBev and Phil Haas
Our minister has asked my husband and me to lead a small group together. We’re not sure we have the time to do something like this. Until now we’ve helped out at church but haven’t committed to doing anything on a regular basis. He told us that serving together would not only help others but also help us. What do you think?
Bev and I were leading a weekend getaway for married couples some time ago when we asked the couples what draws them closer to God. As the couples turned to each other to talk over our question, Bev and I did the same. That’s when we had an “aha” moment. Over the years we have found the most common practice that pulls us closer to God is serving together.
We were not the only ones in the conference room that afternoon who came to the same conclusion. We all came away realizing that serving was not only about living out God’s will; couples who respond to God’s call to serve others experience an added closeness as well. Serving together also creates special memories that naturally come when you do things together. So it should be obvious that our answer to your question is we think serving together is a great idea, whether it is leading a small group or doing something else.
The apostle Paul shared this insight that can easily be applied to married couples: “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interest of others” (Philippians 2:4, NIV, 1984). This challenging passage encourages us to look beyond ourselves and to cultivate a servant’s heart.
As a couple, Bev and I try to apply this principle to serving one another as well as serving others. I used the word try because selfless behavior is not the default for most of us. That’s where God comes into the picture.
We believe you will discover the fulfillment of helping others while being drawn closer to God as a couple. The Bible reminds us, “For the Son of man also came not to be served but to serve” (Mark 10:45). Serving together has benefits that include not only bonding as a couple, but also growing in our faith as well.
Serving side-by-side deepens your faith like little else can. Serving others transforms lives—our own as well as those we serve—and brings people together.
Keep in mind serving together helps you as a couple, but in the end, it’s not really about us. It’s about demonstrating the love of Jesus to those around us, beginning with our own family. Serving is a practical way to consider others and not just yourselves. And remember, if you are parents, your kids are watching you. If they see you serving, they will be more likely to develop a servant’s heart.
Serving Through Your Local Church
We encourage you to accept your minister’s invitation or find another place to serve in your local church. You will not only grow closer as a couple, you’ll get to know your church family better. As Bev and I look back, our closest friends at church are those we have served alongside.
There are many ways you can serve at church. Through the years Bev and I have served together in the local church by rocking babies in the nursery, waiting on tables at a Thanksgiving dinner for seniors, organizing Christmas dinner for the church family, teaching Bible classes for about every age group, leading small groups, planning and speaking at marriage getaways and parenting seminars, mentoring young couples, being door greeters, hosting guest speakers and youth groups in our home, stuffing bulletins, and the list goes on. We both agree we’ve been blessed more by serving than those we have served.
Sharing God’s Love
In the end, serving is about showing people we care by demonstrating God’s love for them. It’s about setting aside time in our busy schedules to share God’s love with others. It’s about looking beyond our to-do list, our calendar of events, and our piled up laundry to meet the needs of others in our church, our neighborhood, and beyond. Through serving we become the hands and feet of Jesus.
Send your questions about family life to Phil and Bev Haas in care of The Lookout, 8805 Governor’s Hill Drive, Suite 400, Cincinnati, OH 45249, firstname.lastname@example.org.We regret that personal replies are not always possible. Phil and Bev Haas are involved in education and family ministry in Cincinnati, Ohio. They are the parents of two children and they have one grandson.