Give offerings another chance.  Dropping a donation into your church's offering plate is about much more than just the money.  It's about opening up your heart to say "yes" to God when He calls you to do something, and growing into a more generous and loving person who trusts God more deeply.  It's also about learning how to live simply and be content with what you have, willing to make the sacrifices God leads you to make and discovering the joy that only come from being spiritually rich.

Give taking Communion another chance.  Through Communion, you demonstrate your unity with God and your fellow believers through Christ.  And as you receive God's grace by taking Communion, you're empowered to walk out of your church's building and demonstrate solidarity with God's fallen world by serving people in need.

Give receiving the benediction another chance.  When your pastor or someone else gives you a benediction (a formal blessing) at the end of one of your church's worship services, remember that it's more than a pious wish for you to have a good day or week.  A benediction isn't just for you; it's meant for you to pass it along to others.  Let the blessing you've received motivate you to bless people in need by serving them however and whenever God leads you to do so.

Adapted from Giving Church another Chance: Finding New Meaning in Spiritual Practices, copyright 2010 by Todd Hunter. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, Ill., www.ivpress.com.
Bishop Todd D. Hunter (D.Min., George Fox University) leads Churches for the Sake of Others, a church-planting initiative of the Anglican Mission in the Americas. He is also a teacher, writer and consultant for his ministry, Society for Kingdom Living, which helps pastors and lay leaders reach a generation that has been disenfranchised from the church. Formerly national director at Vineyard Churches USA and then at Alpha USA, Hunter serves on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of Alpha as well as on a number of other ministry boards, including RENOVARÉ and Soul Survivor. To find out more, visit his website: www.toddhunter.org.

Original publication date: April 14, 2010