The life-giving joy of getting involved

Haley Bodine | January 17, 2023

I enjoy exercising. I have exercised regularly for years. I feel better when I exercise. I’m happier; I’m not as anxious; I am more alert and awake to do the other things I love. 

We know that our bodies are made to move. We know that when our bodies fail to move, our muscles begin to atrophy and die. 

In the same way, our souls atrophy if they are not moving in conjunction with the rest of the body. We are made to participate in the movement of God’s church; giving of ourselves—our time, giftedness, and energy—is healthy and good for us and for everyone around us.

For several years after I became a Christ-follower, I was genuinely taking next steps with Jesus. I attended weekend worship services, I was reading my Bible regularly and praying. I was even tithing on my very small college-student paycheck. I was being transformed from the inside out. 

But I never stepped up to serve in the church. I would hear people at church share opportunities to serve, and I would hope to avoid eye contact on my way out so that I didn’t have to make up some reason why I couldn’t give of my time to help.

If I’m really honest, it wasn’t that I didn’t have time; I just flat-out didn’t want to do it. I didn’t want to make the time to give of myself. I didn’t see how I could add value to my church by serving, and I didn’t see how serving would add value to my life.

Fast-forward a few years. I was a college student attending Brentwood Church in Lynchburg, Virginia. I called Brentwood Church “home,” and I was taught consistently and often to be an active participant and not just an anonymous attender on Sundays. This  didn’t come from a perspective of legalism or expectation, but rather of love and invitation. This church really honed in on the God-given gifts and skills of people and invited us to use those skills to be a part of the big story God was writing there. 

My next step was to believe God: I was not the appendix of the body of Christ; I was not expendable. And I was not called to just believe with my mind, but believe with my whole self that Jesus is the way and His Church is the hope of the world. I was invited to be intricately woven into God’s family. Serving wasn’t just for the people that had “arrived,” it was for me too—broken, flawed, imperfect me. 

I nervously signed up to work with kids. I started out just filling in when someone else was absent, but over time I got more and more involved. 

Now, nearly twenty years later, one of my greatest passions is God’s people—all of God’s people—evaluating their God-given skills, talents, and interests and finding a place within the body of Christ to use those gifts. Not everyone gets excited about holding babies every week. Not everyone is comfortable leading. But everyone has something to bring to the table.

Whatever “it” is for you—that thing that you LOVE to do just for the sake of doing it—find where you can use THAT. 

I dare you to test this through the end of this year. Use your skills and passions consistently and often on one of our teams at Willow and see how you experience deeper satisfaction and deeper sense of connection. 

Taking my next step to volunteer in the local church literally changed my life. I believe it will transform yours too. You matter to this place. We need you. And if I may, you need it too. 

And so consider this your formal invitation to be more than someone who watches from the sidelines. You’re invited to step in, step out, and thrive. 

Explore serving opportunities using our online Serve Finder!