The Healing Substance of Serving
The evangelical church today is divided. Some parishioners contend the church isn’t “woke” enough—not alert enough to racial and social injustice. Others argue it isn’t political enough, while still others maintain the church should not be political at all.
Meanwhile, Satan celebrates the division. And the discord and conflict create barriers to fulfilling our number one task: making Christ known to a lost and broken world.
Bonnie Kristian, in her article “Is Evangelicalism Due for a Hundred-Year Schism?” in Christianity Today, argues the divisions are deep and reminiscent of the past. The past for Kristian is the early 20th century, but disagreements and divisions go back to the earliest days of the church.
Dissension among believers appeared soon after the church was born. Greek-speaking Jewish Christians complained that Aramaic-speaking Jewish Christians skipped over their widows when distributing food. The apostles sensed the growing animosity and knew every widow should be served. They handled the dispute with wisdom by putting certain leaders in charge, like Stephen, who were commissioned to serve all the widows (Acts 6:1–6).
The apostles’ methods still apply and give us clarity on how to heal the fractured body of Christ. The remedy is simple. It doesn’t require a four-week Sunday school study or a trip to a conference to hear a special speaker or an intimate knowledge of a deep theological concept. The spiritual balm to heal division is service. Though our differences may remain, serving Christ together helps us replace animosity with love for one another and turns anger into kindness, enabling us “to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3).
Phil Moser, pastor of Fellowship Bible Church in Gloucester County, New Jersey, saw the unifying power of the Holy Spirit at work in his church after an EF-3 tornado touched down in his area last year, leveling homes, uprooting trees, and destroying property.
Fellowship Bible wasted no time. Despite their differences, parishioners joined hands to serve their community in the name of Jesus Christ. Pastor Moser even shortened his sermon about the Good Samaritan so that 150 men and women with chainsaws and wheelbarrows could wind their way through the community to help their neighbors.
The Philadelphia Inquirer, a local newspaper, wrote a glowing piece about the Bible-believing church, commending it for stepping up in a time of crisis. It reported that volunteers saved one family tens of thousands of dollars in tree-removal fees.
Moser said, “Like many churches during the cultural and political upheaval of 2020, our people were not immune from different opinions and sometimes strong and passionate expressions of those opinions. The tornado changed all of that. Neighbors on our street needed help, and they needed it now. We found agreement in our mission even though we still maintained differences on the way to fix the world we live in. The crisis in our neighborhood put our differences in the proper perspective: While important, they were not the most important. Showing the love of Jesus became the higher priority.”
Fellowship Bible’s unity in serving during one of South Jersey’s most difficult times enticed others—who previously never set foot in the church—to visit on a Sunday morning.
Christ Himself modeled the substance of serving when He said, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mk. 10:45). As His disciples, we should follow His example and work together to serve others. Who knows what great things God may do as a result!