Being a Bondservant

At Olive Baptist Church, you'll often hear the term "bondservant," being used. Every new member gets a "bondservant" towel when they join the church. Pastor Traylor challenges us to be bondservants for Christ. But what is being a bondservant like?

It's about serving. When Jesus Christ was here on earth, he modeled a lifestyle of service which he intended for us to follow. In John 13:14-16, Jesus said,

"If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him."

– John 13:14-16

Jesus said this right after washing the disciples' feet. This simple act of humility which he showed to them was part of a pattern of serving others that was evident throughout his ministry. We know we are supposed to follow his example because he said, "you also ought to wash one another's feet." But being a bondservant is not just about literal foot-washing. It is having a pattern of service in your life.

Our Mandate as Bondservants

Jesus gave us a mandate. Webster's dictionary defines a mandate as, "an authoritative command." What is our mandate? To go and serve one another. Even though Jesus IS the authority, he took upon himself the position of a servant. He humbled himself.

"For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."

– Mark 10:45

Even Jesus, the Son of God, came to serve! He healed people. He prayed for people. He cared about people. And he came to earth and died on the cross in our place as an act of service. It was the ultimate act of selfless sacrifice on our behalf.

In real-world terms, Olive's plan to build a Ministry Village is the largest scale implementation of this mandate that our church has every sought to achieve. With plans for men's and women's homes, a community health clinic, and recreation areas for the community, we are endeavoring to serve the people of Pensacola in a very practical way.

Our Map as Bondservants

As a group of believers known as Olive Baptist Church, we are following a map of sorts: a guideline for living out a lifestyle of service. Every individual, home and church has a part to play in the spread of God's kingdom. Here are three key elements we are seeking to achieve as a part of this work:

  • Every church member is a missionary
  • Every home is an outpost for evangelism and fellowship
  • Every church is a missions-sending center

With these mission objectives in mind, Olive has a specific plan for living a lifestyle of service on both a personal and community level.

The Marks of a Bondservant

What is the purpose of all of this service? What benefit does it yield? The result is that more disciples are made. Through service we spread the love of Jesus and develop opportunites to share our faith.

Jesus said in John 13:35,

"By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."

– John 13:35

As people see and hear our witness, and as the Holy Spirit works in their lives, many will believe in Jesus Christ. They will become disciples, and therefore bondservants, along with us. And as they grow closer to God, their spiritual maturity will increase. The marks of a mature bondservant are these characteristics, listed in 2 Peter 1:5-7:

the calling of spiritual maturity
Brotherly Kindness
the calling of sharing
the calling of submission
the calling of suffering
the calling of service
the calling of sanctification
Moral Excellence
the calling of separation
the calling of salvation

If you possess these traits, you will be useful in God's kingdom. You will be a light in the darkness and you will be much more than a servant of God. You will be His friend. In John 15:15, Jesus said to his disciples,

"No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you."

– John 15:15

So will you choose to humble yourself and adopt a lifestyle of service for the sake of God? If you do, you will be both a bondservant and a friend of Jesus Christ.