It's pretty simple, really. We serve because we already have been served. We show love to others because we already have been (and are) loved.

Why I Serve Alongside ForColumbia Year After Year

By Gretchen Shults, ForColumbia Exec Team

In 2016, the second year of ForColumbia, my pastor asked me if I wanted to serve as the spokesperson for our church for an upcoming day of service.

He mentioned in our brief conversation the simplicity of the ForColumbia mission:

To partner with other Christians in our community to love and serve our neighbors, side by side.

He didn’t have to say anything more to persuade me to say “Yes.”

As a follower of Christ, always eager for opportunities to serve my community, it was easy for me to get onboard with ForColumbia from the first day I heard about it.

Why should anyone serve?

When asked this question, it’s hard not to think about what is written in 1 John 3:16-18.

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

This passage beautifully reminds us of why we are called to love others. Simply put, we were loved first.

Jesus, though able to save Himself from the death He faced on a Roman cross, willingly gave His life so that I might know and experience love to the fullest.

He put aside His feelings, His longings, His desires so that I might have life and fellowship with the Father.

So why do I serve?

Because I have been deeply loved.

And I want to worship my Savior by sharing His love. Not through words or speech only, but with actions and truth, just as Christ did for me.

Why do I serve with ForColumbia?

It’s not at all difficult to find opportunities to serve others within our community.

However, it is difficult to find a day where people are gathered together representing multiple churches, student ministries, and nonprofits, to serve the most vulnerable among us. What brings me out every year after year is the ForColumbia sense of togetherness. We cross paths with people we’d be unlikely to meet otherwise. Differences get left behind. We’re united in purpose.

Paul tells us in Galatians 3:28:

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Christ doesn’t see us as Presbyterians or Catholics, north-siders or south-siders. He sees us as His one people.

I love that ForColumbia’s effort brings Christians together from churches throughout Columbia, giving them an opportunity to set aside differences, to accomplish the mission for which the Lord has put us here.

What do I hope to accomplish by volunteering my time on April 30?

This morning at church, my pastor was preaching on Ephesians, closing up the sermon series we’ve been in for the last few months. He reminded us that God chose us to represent Him in a lost world.

So what do I hope to accomplish on April 30? I hope that my service to my community might reflect Jesus to others.

My prayer for all that volunteer alongside me comes from Matthew 5:16:

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.


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