Serve: Loving Your Church with Your Heart, Time and Gifts – Steve Robinson

Serve: Loving Your Church with Your Heart, Time and Gifts by Steve Robinson
Series: Love Your Church #4
Published by Good Book Company on October 1, 2023
Genres: Non-Fiction, Christian Life
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Let the gospel of Jesus and the example of Jesus motivate you to serve your church sacrificially.

This book looks at the gospel of Jesus and the example of Jesus to motivate us to serve our church family sacrificially with our energy, time, and gifts.

This is a great book for Christians who have grown weary over time, those who need help in identifying their gifts and gaining the confidence to offer them, and church members who are lacking the motivation to get started.

As we look to the example of Jesus, who “came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45), we will be excited and equipped to use what God has given us to serve others with a renewed sense of purpose and joy. We will also see that we do not need to have any particularly impressive gifts or emulate anyone else in order to answer Jesus’ call to love one another.

Written by Steve Robinson, Director of Acts29 UK.

There are discussion questions at the end of every chapter with action steps, making it ideal to read as a small group or even a whole church. Accompanying free downloads are available that can be used for small groups. There are downloadable worksheets, a PDF version of the book's discussion guide, introductory videos for each chapter, and more.

This book is part of the Love Your Church series from Acts29. This collection of thoughtful and practical books will inspire every church member with a biblical vision of what it means to be a local community of God’s family. Church members can explore together what it means to belong, to welcome, to gather, to care, to serve and honor one another, and to witness and send people out to spread the gospel.

In this new addition to the Love Your Church series, Steve Robinson addresses some theological ideas and practical considerations for how Christians should serve the church. He encourages believers to recognize that even though it’s tempting to highlight our love for others as the main motivation for our service, our primary motivation should be to serve and honor Christ, since loving other people won’t be enough to keep you going when things get hard and those people let us down. He writes about what faithful service means, and he explores ideas for how you can discover gifts, get started with service, and contribute in a way that fits with your current life season. I appreciated Robinson’s acknowledgement of how people with disabilities and other challenges can still participate in the life of their church and help others.

This book is short, simple, and practical, but it is also very basic.  The content is true and important, but it often feels surface-level, and Robinson doesn’t engage with deeper issues like dealing with burnout, conflict with ministry partners, guilt trips, or spiritual manipulation. Also, even though Robinson mentioned many different ways that people can help out, I felt that he focused too much on the activities of the local church alone. That’s an understandable focus, given the nature of this series, but I think this book would be stronger if he had addressed ways that local churches and nonprofits often join together to help people in the broader community.

Serve: Loving Your Church with Your Heart, Time and Gifts is a basic introduction to how Christians can serve God by helping others in their church communities. It is appropriate for both individual reading and group discussions, and it could be helpful for some small groups to read this to talk about service and recognize different people’s gifts and contributions. However, because this is fairly basic and surface-level, I would mainly recommend this to new believers, and to people who have never really thought about serving in church. If someone is already very involved in serving at their local church, this book might encourage them with good reminders, but other books would be more suited to their current needs.