To make the message of Christianity real to a fallen world, Christians need to do more than just share the Gospel; they must touch lives with the hope of Jesus through tangible acts of service.
“Regular service is valuable and important to us as Christians because we’re following the example of Christ,” said Liberty University Professor Dr. Lew Weider. “In John 10:27 Jesus said, ‘My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me.’ We’re followers of Jesus Christ. The word ‘Christian’ can almost get lost in our culture today, but to be a follower of Jesus and His Word is very specific.”
“I want to encourage and admonish people to be followers of Christ,” he continued. “How do we do that? Jesus said He didn’t come to be ministered unto, but to minister and to give His life. If we’re going to follow that example, then that would be giving our lives for others. When you experience serving others and they experience the love of God through you, it’ll transform your life as well as the lives of those to whom you minister.”
Serving others should be a natural extension of the Christian faith, Dr. Weider said, and can be as simple as getting involved in one’s local church or charity.
“What are you passionate about? What do you love to do? Get involved in an area that meets that passion,” he advised. “You might not know right away exactly what you want to do, so go out and experience new things. The Holy Spirit will let you know exactly where your passion will meet a need in the community. It will come alive; you’ll blossom and grow and you’ll be so excited because you’ll finally find a place where you serve and use the talents God gave you to really make a difference.”
As the Executive Director of LU Serve, a Liberty University department that exists to develop Champions for Christ through local, domestic, and international engagement opportunities, Dr. Weider is passionate about helping Liberty students develop their God-given gifts for the sake of the Kingdom.
“Service isn’t what makes us Christian; service is what helps us to develop our students with the knowledge, values, and skills they will need for the future,” he said. “We look at service at Liberty as an integral part of their education. It’s part of their transcript so organizations can see they were actually involved in service while at Liberty University.”
During their time at Liberty, students are encouraged to participate in a wide variety of ministry and mission opportunities, dedicating countless hours every semester to serving locally and globally.
“The lives that have been changed in our local area have been tremendous, whether it’s at a local level, state, level, or international mission,” Dr. Weider said. “When you talk with people who have been impacted by our students, their lives have been completely changed. They had no hope and our students brought them hope.”
From local service projects to global mission trips, students are given numerous opportunities to be the “hands and feet” of Jesus. Displaying the love of Christ to others — from washing the hands and feet of the homeless to blanket drives — transforms the lives of students, too.
“It’s very beneficial for our students because we believe community service isn’t just some tacked-on responsibility that every Christian should do,” he explained. “It’s a part of developing their knowledge, values, and skills that will ultimately impact the world. That knowledge and those values and skills, when they’re put into practice, helps students solidify they want to do for the rest of their lives.”
In an individualistic, postmodern culture, Jesus calls all believers to represent God through witness and service. Serving others, no matter what our profession, helps us live like disciples of Christ, Dr. Weider said.
“When we’re giving our lives and having authentic love for people, it makes the message of Christianity real,” he said. “It validates what we do. It’s not just about giving the Gospel to the world, but it’s showing the Gospel to the world — showing them that we love them, that God loves them, and that Jesus loves them, too.”