“What is community service?” I recently asked the BJU Community Service Council during our annual orientation. The council answered with a simply stated definition: “Love others; reach out; and put others’ spiritual, emotional and physical needs before your own.” Their definition aligns closely with the biblical description of a “servant.”
In Philippians 2:7, we read that Christ “took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.” Christ left the glories of heaven to join our humanity and be in community with us. He became the greatest servant and showed us the greatest act of service—His sacrifice on the cross.
This gospel message should motivate believers to find ways to serve. Many of us, however, don’t know where to start. Here are a few pieces of advice for believers who want to show Christ in their communities.
Know your passions
Many times what you’re passionate about tells you how you can best serve. What inspires you? After a long day of school or a busy work day, what do you enjoy doing?
Many students find joy in music, art, sports or simply talking with friends. Those same passions are tools for service. For example, BJU hosts the Special Olympics each year. You could use your love of sports to impact many individuals right here on campus.
Many opportunities exist for individuals outside of the student body as well. Organizations like Meals on Wheels love to work with energetic and personable volunteers to deliver meals to seniors. Often you don’t have to learn new skills to serve. Just be willing to use the ones you have.
Understand your mission
Take a minute to define a clear goal. Answer the question, “What am I trying to do, and how can I best help the community?” Intentional service is impactful service.
God has gifted you with skills and a purpose for them. A gospel-centered life is one that looks for opportunities to use the gifts God has given. The BJU experience is not complete without service.
Apply your skills
Get involved. Keep an eye open for routine communications emails. Take a minute between classes or while you’re waiting in line to read about what opportunities are available to you. Find one that piques your interest.
When you’re ready to get involved, follow the prompts in the student body email or contact CSCDIR@bju.edu with questions or suggestions.
Continue your involvement
Once you begin to serve, you will quickly learn that the experience often benefits you just as much as it benefits the people you serve. That’s not a bad thing! I guarantee you will make lasting relationships and fond memories by serving with people who share similar interests and a common love for God.
If you want to make a difference, all you need is a venue to continuously live out God’s mission by applying your skills. The Community Service Council is committed to providing this venue. We are excited to partner with you for the opportunities ahead of us this semester!