Start Somewhere

“Red and green and blue and yellow and purple and red and purple.”

That’s my three-year-old son’s standard answer to “What’s your favorite color?”

While that’s pretty funny, I can totally identify with him. If you were to ask me “What’s your favorite book of the Bible?” I’d respond with something like this:

“Daniel and Genesis and Nehemiah and Luke and Acts and Daniel and Acts.”

There are just too many good ones!

Recently, I watched a message from a college friend of mine from the Book of Nehemiah—you know, my favorite.

Nehemiah’s Big Moment

If you’re unfamiliar with Nehemiah, here’s an abbreviated story:

Nehemiah was the royal cupbearer to the King of Persia, but he wasn’t Persian—he was Jewish. He had never actually been to his home country or town because the Jewish people had been exiled from the land of Israel for 70 years.

One day he hears a report from some people who had recently traveled to Jerusalem, and it broke his heart. The once glorious city was a shadow of its former self—economically devastated, culturally robbed, and no hope of returning to its pre-war stature. To top all of this off, the city’s defensive wall was completely destroyed—meaning raiding parties pillaged any progress that was made. It was a dire situation.

Nehemiah, being far removed from the situation, did the only thing he could do—pray. He asked God to forgive his people and restore the city to its former glory.

Because of God’s favor and the pre-existing relationship he had with the King of Persia (the world’s superpower at this time), he was given the royal authority to travel to Jerusalem and oversee construction on a new defensive wall.

With permission from the King, Nehemiah sets out to begin construction, but he doesn’t do it alone. He rallies those living in Jerusalem—those who would greatly benefit from the construction—to join in on the project.

Making It Happen

Nehemiah 3 is a chapter full of raw details about who and what the people of Jerusalem did to make this construction project happen—it’s worth a read, but here are some of my favorite highlights:

  • “…the people of Tekoa… refused to work with the construction supervisors.” (3:5) [But still completed their assigned wall segment.] There are some like that in every bunch, I suppose.
  • Priests (3:1), government leaders (3:7), fine craftsmen (3:8)—people of all walks of life participated in this great work.
  • Some assignments were glamorous (Shallum worked on the section of wall by David’s royal garden) and some were not-so-glamorous (Malkijah repaired the “Dung Gate”). 

There are lots of great details that are worth checking out, (reading Nehemiah should only take about twenty minutes) but the big moment happens in 6:15-16.

“On October 2 the wall was finished—just fifty-two days after we began. When our enemies and the surrounding nations heard about it, they were frightened and humiliated. They realized this work had been done with the help of our God.”

What Does This Mean for Us?

God can do anything—He certainly doesn’t need us. But—and this is a big “but”—God most often chooses to work through His people to accomplish His mission.

God most often chooses to work through His people to accomplish His mission. Click To Tweet

If God has called us “to lead people to follow Christ in a life-changing way”—and He has—then we should all dive into that mission. We should all find our part of the mission—our section of the wall—and make it happen.

We are the church, so let’s actually live out its mission.

How Do We Begin?

Good question! Here are three ways to begin:

  1. Begin praying earnestly for our church and ask God to help you discover your part in it.
  2. Start serving—even if you are not 100% sure what fits you best. We like to call it a “test drive.” Go serve in an area for a week or two and see if you like it. If you do, then perfect! If you don’t, do something else. Everything isn’t right for you, but instead of thinking about it for several months, try something now and see how it fits. You can check out some options here.
  3. Bring others along. Do you know what kind of team everyone wants to be on? A winning team. Invite people to serve alongside you. Most people won’t respond to a call for volunteers from the stage, but they will respond to a personal invitation to work with a friend who is passionate about serving.

One More Thing

Antioch doesn’t need more warm bodies to go through the motions of “doing church”—we need you. God actually says we’re incomplete without you.

“Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well.” (Romans 12:4-5a, 6a)

God literally says that without you, our church is missing a body part.

God literally says that without you, our church is missing a body part. Click To Tweet

Is there potentially someone on Earth more skilled or qualified to serve in a certain area at Antioch? Probably—but we need you, not them.

Is there potentially someone on Earth with more experience to serve in a certain area at Antioch? Probably—but we need you, not them.

Is there potentially someone on Earth with less baggage or hangups who is able to serve in a certain area at Antioch? Probably—but we need you, not them.

If you’re a part of the Antioch family, we need you—and you need us. We simply can’t function to the best of our God-given ability as a church without you.

Since we are heading into Super Bowl weekend, let me illustrate it like this: a championship-caliber football team cannot field eleven receivers at the same time—they’d be crushed! They can’t field eleven linemen at the same time—they’d be too slow. A great team has gifted players in each position to do specific functions in order to move the ball down the field.

In the same way, we don’t need a church full of Andys, or Candices, or Bens, or Karens, or Niks, or Sarahs, or Bettys, or Rachels, or Tims, etc. God has gifted this team—our church—with just the right people to function well and accomplish the mission.

We need you.

What’s your next step? 

Check out your options here and sign up to serve this weekend—don’t wait, serve somewhere until you find the perfect place.

by Stephen Castleberry

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