Skip to main content

Service: Recommended Resources

The Faith Practice of Service

  • In the book Full Service: Moving from Self-Serve Christianity to Total Servanthood (Baker, 2006), Siang-Yang Tan reminds readers, “The Lord Jesus has called us to servanthood that comes out of a deep, loving, intimate friendship or communion with him. It is not servanthood out of obligation, duty, guilt, fear, or selfish motives for attention and praise, which is servitude.”
  • Richard Foster explored service in his classic work Celebration of Discipline. Self-Righteous Service Versus True Service is a helpful excerpt, and this blog post summarizes the book’s entire chapter on service well. Also check out Understanding Service, an essay by Foster in The Making of an Ordinary Saint by his son, Nathan Foster (Baker Books, 2014).
  • Service: a Practical Guide, an excerpt from Adele Calhoun’s excellent Spiritual Disciplines Handbook, includes great ideas for engaging with the practice of service on your own, including this one: “Every morning for the next two weeks ask your spouse, roommate, or colleague, ​‘What can I do for you today?’ Then do it.”
  • The Gift of Service, an episode of the Groundwork podcast from Reframe Media, explores the biblical definition of service and how the Holy Spirit cultivates Christlikeness in us through our service.

Cultivating Servants

  • ThereforeGo Ministries (formerly Youth Unlimited) coordinates the SERVE program for youth in grades 6-12. SERVE is “a unique blend of community outreach and discipleship with spiritual transformation as the goal at every level.”
  • Brad Archer’s blog post on UnlockingtheBible.org outlines Seven Marks of a Godly Servant.
  • Cultivating a Ministry of Presence by Charleen Katra on LoyolaPress.com encourages Christians to serve by walking alongside people in need.
  • In Creating Space to Serve on TheBanner.org, Lisa Van Engen explores how to “be intentional in teaching children and young people to serve rather than to be served, to look outward instead of inward, to give rather than to consume.”
  • Check out the ideas on family service in our Family Faith Formation toolkit.

Helping without Hurting