Fall seems to be the season when we begin to think seriously about new beginnings. After all, a new school year started. Church programs and small groups are beginning.

Yet to many people, churches seem intimidating and self-sustaining. "They don't need me. What could I do to really help?"

You could not be more wrong. There is a tremendous need for you. Jesus called you!

I have been given complete authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age (Matthew 28:18-20 NLT).

I hear four important commands and a potent promise.

Here are the four commands!

  1. I've been given complete authority: A command to trust.
  2. Go and make disciples: A command to reach out.
  3. Baptize them: A command to include them in our church family.
  4. Teach the new disciples to obey: A command to pass on what we learned.

This is the potent promise:

I will be with you always, even to the end of the age: The promise of eternal hope.

George Barna in "Growing True Disciples" says it another way: "Ignite and nurture people's passion for God."

What if we as the church were to focus on the four out of every ten adults and one out of every three teenagers who have already become Christians and do everything we can to help them grow to be productive disciples — help them live out the four commands?

In other words: "Ignite people's passion for God and then simply get out of their way."

George Barna gives many examples of how as a church we could "Ignite people's passion --"

You will find no greater joy!

  • We worship not just on Sunday but every day of the week.
  • Constant efforts to convert knowledge of faith into personal application.
  • Complete submission to the Holy Spirit and hearts sensitive to sin.
  • Joyfully share our resources — time, money, skills, information, etc.
  • Deep commitment to building a life-changing community.
  • Spontaneous demonstrations of selfless compassion toward those in need.
  • Sharing our faith in natural and unforced ways based on relationships.
  • We live different from the norm because of our faith.
  • Your church projects an image of love, care and compassion.

Would you like something more specific? Here are a few things you could do right now:

  • Host a small group in your home: teaching is often provided by video.
  • Donate a few Saturdays to help churches fix up houses for the needy.
  • Participate with a church that is feeding meals to the needy.
  • Help the Salvation Army by ringing their bell during the holiday season.
  • Be a New Member Mentor — Help new people feel welcome and find their niche.
  • Become a Children or Youth Volunteer — During Sunday school or at other times.
  • Building and Grounds — Help your church or volunteer agencies look their best.
  • Meals on Wheels — Bring a hot meal to those who need it most.
  • Christmas Child — Provide Christmas for a needy child chosen by our local schools.

You will find no greater joy than to trust in the authority of Jesus and reach out to others, help them feel included, and teach them to pass on what they've seen and experienced through knowing you. Are you nervous? So am I, but I take great comfort in Jesus words just before ascending to heaven: "I will be with you always, even to the end of the age."

I pray this will be part of igniting your passion for serving God and then may we all have the wisdom and courage to "simply get out of your way!"