Greet Urbanus, our fellow worker in Christ, and my dear friend Stachys. (Rom. 16:9)

President George W. Bush, before the sixty-first session of the UN General Assembly on September 6, 2007, said: “Freedom, by its nature, cannot be imposed. It must be chosen.”

Whether or not you agree with his politics, the truth of that statement is undeniable. Forced freedom is an oxymoron, like unbiased opinion or virtual reality. It’s not possible. In our service to God, we limit ourselves by only participating in the much-needed ministries established by the church. Conformity is a forfeiture of freedom. You can’t be liberated from your listless walk unless you take responsibility for making it happen.

I wonder what Urbanus and Stachus did that prompted Paul—the guy who served God in radical ways—to refer to them as fellow workers. Maybe Tryphena and Tryphosa started a new ministry that hadn’t been considered by the others. Their freedom to serve wasn’t as inhibited as ours. But we can choose to be free.

God has designed each church body just as He wants it to be. It’s the Spirit who calls us to the good work He designed us for, not our pastors. Fill them in on the dreams God has put on your heart and see how they fit into the overall ministry of your Christian community. Freedom can be scary, but it will invigorate your spiritual journey if you’re brave enough to go for it.

Consider ways to serve God that haven’t been done in your church.

Dave Knickerbocker is a church planter and aspiring writer from northeast Ohio.