Can a person outgrow service? How can a person who has grown in the ranks in church or in an organization still be able to serve?
Service is defined as the performance of a duty or function.
This very definition implies that everyone no matter your current status or situation is able & required to serve because there will always be a function or duty that you are capable of executing to the benefit of the organization.
A lot of people associate service with the performance of menial tasks and so the word serve is often used when referring to people of seemingly lower estate carrying out tasks for their superiors. This however is not a wholesome view. True service is the performance of a duty for the benefit and betterment of others or a group. This means that the kind of tasks to be carried out may vary based on the position a person holds but the purpose of fulfilling the task remains the same irrespective of position; which is the benefit and betterment of others.
A Pastor has duties they must perform in service to the congregation they lead which are different from the duties that the members of the congregation will perform in carrying out their own acts of service. However, both the Pastor and member must serve with the same attitude and purpose in mind. A Pastor will need to spend time in the study of the Word to ensure that they are able to rightly divide the word of truth and teach the members accurately. They will also need to select and train other leaders to supervise various operations in the local assembly. All these duties are a form of service to the congregation and even though they are different from the duties that will be required of members of the church, they are still necessary acts of service.
A pastor who doesn’t have a servants heart will take the members for granted and will not spend time studying the Word and building a solid team. A lack of servanthood from Pastor will eventually lead to the failure of organization to fulfill its purpose.
This shows that elevation to the position of a Pastor is not a call to an endless holiday but rather a call to an even greater level of service because the duties performed or not performed at this level will have a greater impact on the entire organization. This is why the higher you go in the ranks the more a servant you become but the duties to be carried out may change.
An example from scripture was when there was a complaint against the Hebrews by the Hellenists in the early church in Acts 6:1-7 and Stephen with 7 others were chosen to serve. The apostles made a very important statement and I quote: “It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables”
This statement may sound to some like the apostles saw serving tables as demeaning but nothing is further from the truth. The Amplified version puts it this way; “It is not appropriate for us to neglect [teaching] the word of God in order to serve tables and manage the distribution of food.
What they were saying is that because of the responsibility they have over the people to teach them the word of God, it will be very inappropriate for them to neglect the duties required of them in serving the people and become busy with other duties which people lower in the organization can carry out effectively. This was not a selfish statement or a show of pride. Rather this was a display a true humility and servanthood because if the apostles had neglected their primary duties to serve tables, the health and growth of the entire organization would have been jeopardized. The apostles were however no less servants than those who were selected to serve tables. All of them served in various capacities focused on the same purpose which was the growth and spread of the gospel.
We can therefore say that no one ever outgrow service and the higher you go, the more you are required to serve though the duties will change. This is why Jesus said that the greatest must be the servant of all.
To be able to continue to serve effectively as you grow through the ranks, one must have a strong revelation of who they are in Christ and the purpose for their role. This will help them avoid pride or false humility and also help them avoid pressure to carry out duties for the group that may look seemingly important (from an emotional stand point) but will not give maximum benefit to the group in the long run just like in the example of The apostles in Acts 6. A leader who has grown through the ranks, if your focus remains on building and improving the lives of the people you are leading, you will always be on the look out for tasks you can perform to make their lives better and this is service.