Jerusalem—Local Community

by Brenton Shephard on May 08, 2024

I Can’t

One of my least favorite phrases to hear from someone is “I can’t.” I fully understand that while some things are outside of the realm of possibilities or even physically impossible, in some instances, most things in life are accomplishable. Sure, sacrifices will have to be made to accomplish or even start the task, but life is all about making sacrifices—especially for those who have put their faith in Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

Before His ascension to Heaven, Jesus left the disciples with one final word. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). In a nutshell, this is a quick outline to the disciples that they will be tasked with spreading the Gospel and serving in their local community, as well as throughout the world. On top of that, they will do so not just for the people like them (Jews), but those who are different (Gentiles). What’s easily lost in this command is that Jesus takes away any excuses they may have when He tells them, they’ll receive the power of the Holy Spirit. This takes away their “I can’t” and points us to the reality that He can and He will use us. All we need to do is be willing.

It’s Not About You

Now, you’re probably thinking, “Okay, where am I supposed to serve locally?” Well, I’m glad you asked. I want to take the rest of this blog to point out just a few of the ways you can serve in your local community. Some may be obvious and others not so much. I promise though, that if you’ll set aside your “I can’t” attitude and be open to allow God to work in and through you, He’ll make a way. The biggest thing we need to remember is found in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” Paul’s reminder is that serving God isn’t about us, it’s about Him, and when we serve, we do so to point others to the truth and love of Jesus.


When thinking about serving, the first thought can jump to the question, “Where?” Obviously, we can branch out to the world, but remember, we’re focusing on our Jerusalem, our local area. With this in mind, I want to start as local as I can think of and branch out a little. There are so many places to serve in your local community, so let’s get right down to figuring those out.


This one may seem obvious but is often one of the most neglected places we can serve. If we’re being honest, we may even avoid looking at our families as a place to serve because we have so many obligations to them. This thinking is the first thing that needs to change. I don’t “have” to serve my family, I “get” to serve my family. If you’re reading this and you’re a man/woman, husband/wife, father/mother, son/daughter, or brother/sister, you have a call to serve your family. That may look different in each stage, but I’d challenge you to read passages like Ephesians 5:25-31 (husbands), Ephesians 5:22-24 (wives), Ephesians 6:4 (mentions fathers but is true for mothers as well), Ephesians 6:1-3 (sons/daughters), and Ephesians 5:1-2 (everyone).

The reality is our family unit should be the first place we get to serve. We make sacrifices to pour into each other and should do so out of a genuine heart of love, not obligation. You know what else? The best part of seeing our family as an opportunity to serve is that it allows us to not just serve our families directly, but to serve with our families and teach these lessons to our children. Last thing, if you’re an adult and not married, this doesn’t mean you don’t have a family to serve or serve with. You still have your immediate family to love on, care for, and support. It’s in these moments that we can look back at the family we grew up with and show them a Christlike model of service and love. Although in some cases this can be hard because of past hurts, there are incredible moments to see grace and forgiveness poured out as well. 

-Regular Activities-

I get it, we’re all busy. We work, we run errands, we cook, clean, take care of the lawn, help with homework, go to practices, games, and other events… there’s just no time. *Insert buzzer sound* Incorrect! In the midst of the errands, practices, games, and events, this is just another place to serve. Volunteer to help coach your kids' teams, they’ll love it! If you don’t know anything, don’t worry about it, be an assistant coach or the parent who hangs out on the bench or dugout to keep the kids engaged. Also, if you really don’t want to coach, look to your left and your right at all the other parents around you. This space in itself is a mission field. Engage people. Ask questions. Get to know them. You never know what opportunities may come up to share Christ’s love there. Remember, it’s not about an obligation to be there, it’s an opportunity to share the love of Jesus in our words and our actions. Not only that, it’s a calling Jesus put before all of us in Matthew 5:13-16 when He talked about being the salt of the earth and a light to the world.


In Romans 12:4-8, Paul paints a picture of what it looks like for the body of Christ to function properly. The reality is we all have different gifts and we must use those gifts to further His kingdom. There are so many opportunities within Bay Life Church for these gifts to be utilized, whether it be in Children’s Ministry, Middle and High School Ministries, Adult Ministries, Missions, Care Ministries, Worship Arts, or College/Young Adults Ministries. All of these areas have opportunities to serve in roles such as life group leaders, greeters, ushers, discipleship, choir, prayer team, funeral hospitality, events setup, camera operators, and tech support. These are just some of the numerous ways to serve within the church that allow you to use your time and talents. Now, you might come back and say, “I don’t know anything about (fill in the blank).” Trust me, there are people who will train you to serve in that space. You can do it.

-Outreach Organizations-

I know I’m not going to think of every organization and if I forget something you know of, share this blog and comment on that organization and how people can serve. Here are some places I know: Hope for Her, ECHO, Metropolitan Ministries, Salvation Army, Family Promise, Lighthouse Ministries, YMCA, Boys and Girls Club, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, and Safe Families. 

No More Excuses

While these ideas are certainly not every opportunity you have to serve in your local community, the point is there’s something out there for everyone to be able to serve. Look these opportunities up online and reach out to find out how to serve. If none of these fit, search online for “service opportunities near me”. This search produced over 2 million results when I did it. We weren’t called into faith in Jesus to sit back and watch. We were called to serve, love, and share. My challenge for you is to look into your closest circle of influence and branch out. Lastly, if you know of any other great ways to serve in your community, share this blog and bring up that opportunity. The more we raise awareness of opportunities, the more likely they are to be filled.

Tags: missions, jerusalem

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