When I was a young girl, God gave me a desire to serve others. Little did I know that at the age of 24, God would lead me into a season of serving on a church staff as an administrative assistant. Last March, I celebrated my 21st year as a full-time staff member. During these decades, I have served alongside four senior pastors and over 30 staff members. God has blessed me with some amazing friendships for which I will be forever grateful, but other relationships have brought hurt and pain. It has been through those painful relationships that God has grown me. I want to share how God has helped me in the ministry to assist multiple people with various personalities.
“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth’” (Genesis 1:26).
The first thing we can do when assisting people with differing personalities is to remember we are made in the image of God. God made each of us uniquely different. Try to focus on the strengths God gave those individuals that you serve. We all have areas of weakness, so find those that are strong in your areas of weaknesses and learn from them. In struggle we grow. Ask the Lord to help you learn from those who are different from you. Be ready when the Lord moves you to serve in areas you never expected.
“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” (Philippians 2:3-4).
Another way we can assist a wide variety of personalities is by guarding our hearts against pride. Those we serve, or serve with, should be given grace and mercy. None of us are without sin. When others hurt us, whether intentionally or unintentionally, we should be humble in offering grace, mercy and forgiveness—exactly what we want to be given when we fail. May we extend the same love, grace and mercy that God extends to us.
“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector” (Matthew 18:15-17).
Conflict is inevitable while serving. As Christians, we must follow God’s Word when dealing with conflict. Hopefully, your church structure is set up to handle conflict and sin biblically. First, pray. Then with a humble spirit, go to the person. We should always be seeking to restore and reconcile with others. If that relationship cannot be restored between the two of you, then bring in another brother or sister in Christ that can help both of you work through the issues. If the relationship still cannot be restored, take it to the church. As the body of Christ, we should always be striving to glorify God with unity in our relationships and within the body of Christ (Romans 15:5-6).
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).
As we serve others and serve alongside our brothers and sisters in Christ, we cannot forget what God’s Word tells us—man was created in order to bring glory to God. Tim Challies in his blog, Christian Living, said it this way: “Our primary responsibility is to ensure that we are bringing glory to God through our lives as we use the gifts and talents God has given us and that we constantly submit our time and our talents to Him.” The world is watching us. Our church is watching us. Our families are watching us. Are we being faithful, humble and loving with the gifts and talents God gave us as we serve? If we are not glorifying God within the body of Christ, how can we share the gospel to a world that desperately needs Jesus?
Serving the Lord and others has been one of the most rewarding parts of my life. I wish I could tell you it has been easy and without struggle, but I cannot. But God (love those two words) has taught me so much while serving on a church staff about him and about my own sin struggles. Always be open to what God is teaching you, especially when serving is difficult. I promise you this: God is with you. He knows every detail of your life, and he will give you the strength to persevere when you are struggling or want to quit. We serve a God who is able to restore and renew. I pray your strength and hope is in the Lord each day as you serve (Isaiah 40:31).