Serving in the Ordinary

buffet style snack table

It was still early in the morning when I climbed into my car and buckled my seatbelt, the backseat full of suitcases, boxes, and bags. The sun was shining brightly and I cranked up the air-conditioning to combat the end-of-summer Iowa heat. I took a deep breath as I pulled out of the driveway. This wasn’t just any road trip; this was the beginning of an entirely new season of my life.

I was leaving the comfort of home for a new adventure—serving as a semester missionary in the inner city. I was joining missionaries to serve and witness to a community impacted by poverty. My emotions ran high, made up of nervousness and excitement.

As I drove off that day, I didn’t know what to expect on the field. I had an abstract understanding of the concept of missions, but what that meant for everyday life was a mystery to me. Part of me assumed doing missions equaled constant superspiritual moments. What I found when I got there, however, was a bit different from what I expected.

In the following months, the daily routine of missions seemed surprisingly . . . normal. Instead of continuous superspiritual moments, what actually filled most of my time was ordinary things: playing basketball and board games, helping with homework during our after-school program, cleaning the building, making snacks, and talking with people from the community.

What I found in those routine moments was that often God uses the ordinary to lead us into the profound.

Serving Him in the ordinary made it incredibly meaningful. Cleaning the building became a time to worship. Preparing snacks became a time to encourage volunteers. Helping with homework became a time to hear the worries, hurts, and joys of the precious kids coming to our after-school program. Community breakfasts were opportunities to be present with people in moments of great trial and amazing triumph.

Often these things opened the door to pray with people, a holy privilege that transformed routine movements into deep interactions with the Father. As I look back at that season of life, I see that the most beautiful and spiritual moments of missions came out of the most ordinary tasks.

You may be in the same place I was, thinking missions must look a particular way in your young professional world. My friend, God’s design for missions is so much bigger than the box we put it in. As we answer the call to participate in the Great Commission, may it start in the simple daily moments of our lives.

Let me encourage you to ask the Lord to use your ordinary moments as part of His mission. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Selah Ulmer is a recent seminary graduate in Kansas City, Missouri. She desires to see people of all ages know the Lord deeply and apply His Word to their lives.

Back to Top