Glad you asked.  First, for those who filled out their involvement survey at my church with attending a small group Bible study as part of their ministry involvement I didn’t and don’t believe it is helpful to point out to them that I don’t consider attending the same as serving.  What it made me desire to do more within my church was passionately continue helping promote and implement a process like PLACE where every person will have an opportunity to discover how God created them FOR life and ministry so they can be and yes DO what God created them for IN life and ministry.

​  If you have an intentional process to help people SERVE not just ATTEND let me encourage you to keep on keeping on in making it available to every person within your church.  If you don’t have an intentional process to help people SERVE or feel it is not accomplishing what you desire PLACE Ministries would welcome the opportunity to help you through our process and resources we provide.


Serving Him Together,

Jay McSwain

Founder & President of PLACE Ministries

Why Ministries Like PLACE Aren't Successful And How To Make Them Successful

"How do we get people to go from being a hearer of the Word to a doer of the Word?"    

Is Attending Serving?

  After working with several churches who have used the Involvement Survey I have noticed  trends in several areas

  1. How many people are doing not ministries, but jobs that staff and key leaders had no idea were being done within the church.
  2. All the ministry that people were doing outside the church and not associated with the church that the staff and ministry leaders had no idea was taking place by their members and attendees.
  3. Lastly, and this one relates to the title of this article – Is Attending Serving?

 I have been amazed at how many individuals put attending a small group Bible study as a participant as a ministry they serve in. So, the question,

Insight from the Survey

  While I am sure the Bible study leader is grateful for every person who attends,
I would not consider “attending" a Bible study in a small group to be “serving".

James 1:22 makes a distinction between hearing and doing when James says,

“But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.”   

I believe God wants us to be both a hearer of the Word as II Timothy 2:15 tells us to study (part of studying is hearing others teach) to show ourselves approved of God and through James 1:22 we are told to do what we hear.

obviously I don’t believe showing up and attending a Bible study is equated with serving.  You might not agree with me and that’s okay.  Whether you agree or disagree please read on to another question and my answer to the question.

  When you basically do the same thing for twenty years you can either get bored (yes there is a lot of routine repetition with any job or ministry) with what you do or you can marvel at the new insights that continue to come your way if you look for them.

  Almost ten years ago PLACE Ministries created an involvement survey that is used with our Mobilyzr database for a church to be able to track involvement by its members and attendees.  The survey reveals several important involvement areas:

  • Ministry (ie. – children, youth, Small groups etc.) involvement by each person taking the survey
  • Job (ie. – teacher, greeter, front desk sign in for children, etc.) involvement by each person taking the survey
  • Hours served each month by the individual taking the survey
  • Whether the ministry is associated with the church or unassociated with the church
  • Total collective involvement by those taking the survey in hours on a monthly basis in each ministry and job within the church and outside the church
  • Percentage of involvement based on the attendance of the church

   What does not get boring to me after all these years (almost 20) working with PLACE Ministries are new insights, 
thoughts, and questions that come in looking at something like our Involvement Survey.  In January the church ( I serve on staff as Pastor of Discipleship asked our entire congregation during a message by my pastor to complete the Involvement Survey.  Again it was part of his message and took about four minutes for instructions and completion by those attending.

  So here are my insights, questions, and thoughts regarding my questions. 

“Is attending a Bible Study serving?”