I was recently involved in a study entitled “The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For?” ~ authored by Rick Warren. This 42 day study has pushed the boundaries of my thoughts and beliefs, and has turned my attention toward action. It is within the realm of action that I find myself lacking purpose, and suspect so many other people do as well.
As a leader, I have certainly been in positions to help people. Whether it’s customers/clientele, other leaders, staff, or many other stakeholders, I have had a “helping” mindset for as long as I can remember. Now, as I look further at my own purpose… I’m starting to challenge the notion that helping is serving. I’ve concluded that they are not synonymous… but are often mistakenly used interchangeably. I’m no stranger to rolling up my sleeves to pitch in on what needs to be done. I’m not saying that helping isn’t important, it is important. I’m just being challenged with the notion that helping is good enough, it isn’t.
Over the past year, I’ve taken some intentional steps to improve myself. One of those steps was to study servant leadership, which included participation in a couple of “training” opportunities as well. In this same time frame, I find myself being challenged to do more serving rather than helping. In other words, I want to meet the needs of others, even if they don’t realize they have a need… and better yet, meet it without them even knowing it’s been done.
I’ve had many of opportunities to help others in need. For example, recently our small group has helped a couple of people complete much needed home repair projects. I’ve helped our church by leading a small group, volunteering to usher, and greeting visitors, etc.. However, I’ve been seeking a way to serve a need… a need that someone being served isn’t even aware they are in need of. Then, all of a sudden after nearly 10 months of passive-type conversation, our small group took a huge leap of faith and created “Bibles for Children” – a service project that provides an underprivileged child with an age appropriate bible, that is written in a language that children can understand, and which includes some illustration to help keep their interest. We have an immediate goal to serve at least 1200 underprivileged children before the end of the year. While it is a pretty lofty goal, we truly believe it only scratches the surface of what is needed.
I really have no idea where this particular service will lead, but I do know that in order to lead, I must do service!