As ministry leaders, we are constantly in the limelight. Our service is often very public, receiving praise and acknowledgement from those around us. Every week, everyone sees what we do. They see the way we lead our teams. They see us cast vision and implement systems. They know we hold significant leadership positions in the church. Sure, they may not fully understand what it looks like to wake up when it’s still dark on a Sunday morning to get to church with a smile on our face. But they know who we are and that we serve our church.
I was struck by this as I led worship at a church about month ago. The service wrapped up and the pastor ascended the platform to dismiss the congregation. He thanked me publicly as the worship leader and the congregation clapped in response. Everyone was dismissed and I gathered my guitar, cables, pedals, etc., checked to make sure the stage was cleared, and began to walk out the door. I turned and nearly bumped into the person gathering used communion cups. There was a team of 5 people breaking down chairs and setting up tables for an upcoming event. The crew in foyer were cleaning dirty coffee pots and the nursery team (who had been their equally as long as me) sat on the floor scrubbing toys with disinfectant. Every one of these people worked incredibly hard and sacrificially, but none of them received a public thank you.
It made me think: where am I serving “thanklessly” in my life right now? As a worship leader, it’s sometimes easy to think that because my job is service-oriented and at church, I’m excused from finding other areas to serve. However, God calls us to humble ourselves and to serve in the shadows. Though we may not receive a thank you on the other side, we are refined through the process.
The greatest among you will be your servant. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” – Matthew 23:11-12
Jesus had a very public ministry on earth. He fed the five thousand, performed jaw-dropping miracles, and shared the gospel from a platform that brought thousands to hear what he had to say. Yet, at the same time, He was humble. He met the woman at the well and heard her story. He washed the disciples feet. He befriended and dined with those everyone else hated. He humbled himself and gave the ultimate sacrifice as he hung upon the cross.
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” – Mark 10:45
As women who have been called to lead, I wonder: how can we imitate Christ’s humility by finding places to serve and love on people in anonymous, “thankless” ways? Maybe you need to find an outlet for service outside of your church, where people don’t know you. Or, perhaps you need to use the platform you’ve been given at your church to mentor one of the younger girls who looks up to you. Perhaps you are a mom and your thankless service is changing a million diapers a day and making nightly dinners. Whatever that humble service is for you, know that God is glorified through the works of your hands.
How do you find ways to serve, outside of your primary ministry role?
Linzy is a singer/songwriter and worship leader in the San Francisco Bay Area. She leads worship at various churches, conferences, and retreats around the country and is passionate about creating music that helps people connect with the heart of God. Linzy desperately wants to see God’s name lifted high in this hurting world and to help others recognize that it is because of Him we can fight for joy and healing. Her solo EP, Here in the Waiting, was released in July of 2015, shortly following her single entitled “I Surrender All to Thee.” When she’s not doing ministry, you will find her hiking, drinking coffee, or exploring new places with her hubby Dan and their sidekick (son) Peyton.