FUGE Camps does a lot of things great, but for me one of the greatest things they do is serve other people. I have had the privilege of spending the past two summers at M-FUGE and am thankful to be spending a third summer serving. If there is one thing that camp has taught me is the importance of service leadership, and being a servant leader. We often look to our pastor, youth pastor, or any other church leader to be a servant when, in reality we are called to be servants as Christians.
The best place to find what being a servant leader means and looks like is rooted in the context of scripture. The four verses below lay out how this looks and provides us the perfect example of a servant leader, Jesus.
1. John 3:30 ESV “He must increase, but I must decrease”
These words come from John the Baptist on the arrival of the Son of Man. John, who prepared the way for Christ and was a strong leader, makes a great point. In order for his life to be full, he needed to make much of Jesus and little of himself. Everything we do is to be for His glory. How are we showing this daily?
2. Philippians 2:3-8 ESV “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped ,but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
The Apostle Paul wrote these words to the Church at Philippi. He explains the sacrifice Christ made by coming to earth. The words to count others more significant than ourselves are powerful. The only way we can do that is to serve people and put them before ourselves.
3. 1 John 4:7-11 ESV “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another”
I love this passage as it beautifully describes God’s love for us as we go from being children of wrath to being children of God. Love is from God. The only way to love is by God, and the only way to love others is through God. He enables us to go and do things we would never have done without Him.
4. Matthew 20:26-28 ESV “It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Of course this is Christ talking, and He makes it abundantly clear we are here to serve. Christ is the one we are to emulate. If the Son of Man came to serve surely that means we are to serve as well.
This past summer at Charleston M-Fuge, I took my ministry track group to a trailer park to do some yard work one day. We finished early and had some time before we needed to get back to campus. I noticed a yard that needed a good bit of work done on it, so we decided to knock on the door and ask the family if we could cut their yard, trim the hedges, weed eat, and wash the trailer. The lady who came to the door allowed it and gave me the key to get in the backyard. When we finished and I knocked on the door, a man came to the door, and he began to weep. He explained that he had carpal tunnel disease and had been laid off work just prior to being diagnosed. Now he was unable to work, had been denied disability, and did not have insurance to get the proper operations he needed. On top of that he could not physically keep up with his yard, nor afford to pay someone to do it. He asked us why we did it, because he said he could not pay us. We simply told him we did it because Christ loves him, and we love him and wanted to serve him. That impacted my group and at the end of the week one of the students told me he wanted to find more ways to seek out those who need help because of the joy that man felt by us helping him.
Last March, I had the opportunity to go to Zimbabwe with other FUGE staffers to serve the Sanyati community is replacing their roof at their hospital. I remember one of the locals asked me one day why I would be willing to come from America to spend my vacation on a roof in Africa. He could not understand why I would be willing to do that. I explained to him it was something I prayed about and felt called to do with my spring break. The love the people showed us because of our efforts I will never forget. They felt loved, and in return gave us love. There is no better display of what the Church is supposed to look like as a community than that. It was not that we were American and they were African. It was that we are a family of believers and as my friend Shadreck put it, “We are all on the same team.”
A final example of serving others is an experience I had while in college. Our church is involved with a ministry called International Coffee Hour. There we go meet internationals, many who have no knowledge of Jesus, and witness to them. One guy named Jay from South Korea started coming. We made it a point to pick him up and take him to church, to hang out with us at the house, and to go to other events we attended. We did this in order to share Christ with him and love him. When he was taken to the airport to go home, my friend asked him the greatest lesson he learned while in America. His response was: “The love of the Church.”
One thing I try to emphasize to campers and to people in my small group is that the ways to serve are endless: from mowing lawns for the elderly in our church, to serving in the church nursery to give people time to enjoy the service, to going to a soup kitchen, to being a friend at school. All kinds of other opportunities are out there, we just have to go and find them. Teaching the importance of servant leadership was a priority for Christ and it should be for the Church, especially for students who are the future Church leaders.
That’s what FUGE Camps does for teenage students. It instills in them at an early age that servant leadership is a vital part of the Church, and we’re all called to practice it. If we teach our students this at a young age, they will carry it with them for a lifetime and pass it on when they are leaders. Christ poured into 12 men while on earth and taught them the importance of serving. Because of that investment, those 12 influenced and impacted the world. It is up to us if there are going to be servant leaders, and it starts by discipleship: doing it ourselves and then teaching students.
Seeing others more important than ourselves is often difficult, especially in a country that’s all about looking out for number one. The cost can be high if we truly want to follow Christ as He has commanded. We could lose money, friends, security, and much more. However, following the command of Christ is only beneficial in the long run for Christians. I have come to find that a life of service for the glory of our Creator is a life of joy, fulfillment, and satisfaction. My life verse is Acts 20:24 which instructs us to account our life of no value but to use it only to testify the Gospel of Grace. We do this by serving others
Love God, love people – serve God, serve people