Show grace to others, especially to those who don’t deserve it. Grace by definition is undeserved.

Hold onto truth, but always with grace.

Look children in the eye. Give them undivided attention, even if just for a few moments.

Don’t simply plan; prepare. Planning expects things to work the way we’ve drawn things up; preparing doesn’t. Preparing looks at where a church is — its strengths & weaknesses — and adapts to new situations with the unchanging truth & lavish grace of God. For new situations always come. God’s love always does, too.

Prepare for Sunday worship by expecting God’s Spirit to do something you didn’t plan for.

A slightly-disorderly service that allows for the unexpected is better than a well-ordered service that does not.

Children are not orderly. Include them anyhow.

Children & youth are not the future of the church; they will be in charge of the church of the future. Keep this distinction in mind, and help them learn & lead now.

Don’t reprimand children for running in church, or being loud. Guide and encourage if necessary, but don’t chastise.

If kids are having fun, and there’s a way for you to join them, do it.

Read scripture. Publicly. Aloud. And more than just the passage for the sermon. We are a people of the book; we should allow God to speak through it each Sunday, all throughout the service.

Learn people’s names. Don’t allow “not being good at names” to be an excuse, but an opportunity to focus on the 20 that really need for you to know them, the 20 you really want to know, and 20 it’s easy to overlook (e.g., the children, the quiet, the awkward, the uncertain, the different).

Don’t be so caught up in talking with people you know to overlook those you don’t. Never walk right past a person who is standing alone, without at least saying hi and offering a smile.

Don’t always sit in the same place on Sunday. This allows you to interact with different people, and avoids the sense of awkwardness when a new person sits in “your spot.” If you don’t have a spot, no one can “take it.”

Sing, even if you can’t. Try, even if you don’t know the song.

Don’t allow communion to be only about you and Jesus. Instead of bowing your head and closing your eyes during communion, occasionally look around. 1 Corinthians 11.29 urges us to “discern the body,” and one way we do this is reflect on the fact that the broken body of Christ has formed these people around you into the living body of Christ.

Church is a family — a family that is always looking to add new seats at the table.

Go to funerals for members of your church family (h/t to Arnis).

Be willing to do work no one else wants to do. Then look for opportunities to do it.

Leadership is not about importance, but about influence and impact.

Park as far away from the entrance as your physical abilities and your time allows.

Unless you are a millionaire, give prayerful consideration before you buy a new car. It’s rarely worth it, it ties up valuable kingdom resources, and it allows people to form an impression of what you value before you have a chance to tell them & show them who you are and what matters to you.

Sit near the front of any gathering. This helps you stay more engaged, and shows the speakers/leaders that you are ready for what they have to share.

Regularly thank those who lead, through text, email, phone call, or (even better) in a written note or face-to-face. Do this especially for often-overlooked, behind-the-scenes lay leaders.

Thank the sound & tech crew.

Unless you have somewhere you have to be, never rush out after the service.

Occasionally invite someone out to lunch. If you have the resources, pay for them.

Read the Bible in a version different than you regularly use. Consider what the differences might teach you, and do some investigation if the differences seem especially meaningful.

Leave your phone in the car. At the very least, don’t check the time during the service. Not even once.

If you’ve been a Christian for any length of time, find at least one other person to encourage and mentor. Do this as a friend, not as a project.

No matter how long you have been a believer, find at least one person who encourages you. Spend time with them. Be open & honest with them. Listen to them. Learn from them.

Don’t run from your church at the first challenge. Or the second. Stick with it and work through it. Be one who works for unity in the middle of the challenge, not one who stokes the fire from the sidelines — or who just gives up.

No matter how difficult things get at your church, never take your eyes off Jesus.

4 thoughts on “33 ways you can make a difference in your church

  1. So practical AND challenging. Thank you for sharing this (and for engaging in my daughter’s world on her level ☺️).

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