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A 20-something year old girl at church said something to me on Sunday that was incredibly mature.

“I decided to stay at this church because when I was growing up at this church, a lot of people here contributed to my growth. Now I want to give back and help other people grow at this church.”

When she says she wants to give back, what does it mean? Is she going to help the same Sunday School teachers who once taught her? If the youth group helped her, does she have to give directly back to the youth group?


She is giving back by using her gifts to help in any way she can in order to provide the opportunity for others to grow. Sometimes that would mean some support services such as ushering, or helping with sound, or counting the offering.

But most often, merely her presence as a part of the family is enough.

There is always a place for someone to give to a church. There is never a time when someone can say, “I am not needed here anymore.”

People don’t often realize that for someone like me who has been a part of a church for a long time, the greatest joy is to see someone who has benefited from this family of Christ, stay at the church to provide that opportunity of growth to someone else.

People don’t often realize what a great pain it is for me to see someone grow up in the church and decide to leave it because it no longer serves them or they think they are not needed.

Who will then be the support for people like me and people like this girl who decides to stay? Doesn’t it mean something to give back to the church that have served you over the years?

I have to admit, when I was 20-something, I did not see church that way. Now that I am older, I realize church is not a “place”, not a means of gaining and meeting my needs. When I see church as a place to serve others, I know that God is faithful to provide for my needs in ways beyond my expectation.

I am glad to know that at least this girl knows how church works. I wish more would see church as a family in the same way.

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