I love that I get to share a few thoughts on serving! Why? Because when we think about serving, we’re drilling down to something essential – our purpose.

In the Christian tradition, the concept of purpose is distilled down to a simple yet powerful statement from the Westminster Shorter Catechism, a collection of 107 questions that believers would study and learn the answers to as a way of creating a foundation for their faith. The first question is, “What is the chief end of man?” The answer? To glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

It’s the Purpose Question

At FAC, we express this purpose as building a life that honours God.

One of the ways we do that is through serving, and this is something we all need to embrace. Paul makes it clear in Ephesians 2:10: 

“For we are God’s handiwork (a masterpiece), created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

This verse is for each of us; no Christ-follower is left out. You were made on purpose, for a purpose – to honour God with your life!

When we talk about building lives that honour God, we need to recognize that we’re going against the grain when we focus on serving. Our world is preoccupied with self, but the Bible challenges us to live lives of sacrifice and service. The world tries to press us into a mould of being independent when the Bible shows us that we are interdependent. The Bible calls us to move from “I” to “we,” – which is very countercultural!

In our individualist Western culture, we often miss out on being a Spirit-empowered church that serves together to be the visible expression of the invisible God to the world around us!

As we think about moving from “I” to “we,” there are some crucial things we need to not miss. The first relates to synergy. “Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labour.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9) We really are better together and can accomplish far more when we all lean in and do our part. 

The second thought is that there is a huge impact when people within the Body of Christ don’t show up.

As I write this post, it’s the start of baseball season! I love the spring routine of getting out with a team and playing ball. But as I head to the diamond each week, I’m reminded about what happens if people don’t show up. In our league, if you’re short a player or two, you can still play, but it gets much more complicated. The missing players show up in the batting lineup as automatic outs, and the roles they play on the field go unfilled. It’s tough to win when you have people missing! And once you’re missing a certain number of players, you have to forfeit the game. You don’t get to play, and it gets posted as a loss on the stat sheet.

Being a church is a team sport!

You and I are essential for the Body of Christ to function as God created it. Your service really matters! As a church community, we’re interconnected, contributing and needing the contributions of others.

How do we discover this God-given calling to serve? The SHAPE test helps us reflect on our:

Spiritual Gifts
Heart Passions

Looking at how God has wired us through these different lenses can help clarify how God is leading us to serve.

Spiritual Gifts

1 Corinthians 12:7 says, “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.”

1 Peter 4:10-11 categorizes gifting as speaking gifts and serving gifts:

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides so that in all things, God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.”

Each of you – this means you are gifted. Remember, you’re a masterpiece, a work of art! When you became a follower of Jesus, God gifted you to contribute to the Body of Christ. This giftedness is where God shows up powerfully in you.

Heart Passions

Excited woman with a purpose

God has also given you passions – things that make your heart beat fast! Maybe it’s the plight of refugees or those who are under-resourced. Perhaps you love investing in children or helping people in practical ways. Maybe for you, there’s no better moment than when you can support a person in understanding a new concept and making it theirs! We all have things that we’re passionate about; what makes your heart beat fast?


We already have things we’re good at. Those abilities might point us in the direction of service to others. You may have the gift of helping and have a strong ability as a mechanic. Serving with our Oil Change Days might be a great fit for you!


Reflecting on how God has wired our personality may also help us determine where we can serve most effectively. It’s always fun to explore how we can find the perfect spot to be involved based on our God-given personality!


We all have vast life experiences that can prepare us for more effective service. Even experiences that have been difficult for us can set the stage for God to equip us to help others. After all, we are fearfully and wonderfully made! God doesn’t waste anything, even the most challenging life challenges we go through.

The amazing thing is that as His children, He gives us a SHAPE that enables us to engage, serve and contribute in ways that go way beyond what we would be capable of in our own strength both as individuals and, more importantly – together!

We often talk about evidence of God at work in and through us at FAC. God’s power will be evident as He works in and through the unique design of each of our lives. Where the Spirit is at work, there will be fruit. And joy! A joy from seeing God using us the way He shaped us. Joy as we see our purpose realized. Joy as we build our lives to honour Him!

Power, fruit and joy. These are the unmistakable attributes of actively serving and living out God’s purpose for our lives!

Why not take the SHAPE test and process it with someone? Sit down with a family member, a friend or someone from your small group. Better yet, take the assessment as a small group, then think through what God is saying to you as individuals and as a group!

Take the Shape Test

Knowing your SHAPE can go a long way to helping you find our purpose in serving. This simple online quiz also gives you the option to forward your results to someone else. If you’d like support in working through the SHAPE Test, put in shape@faccalgary.com and someone from FAC would be happy to help you process what you are discovering.

Serving. It’s not something we have to do. It’s something we get to do! As we serve, we’ll experience God’s power at work in our lives, see Him produce fruit, and experience deep joy, as others are blessed and supported through our service!

Les Bon-Bernard is the Senior Associate Pastor at First Alliance Church.