Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Is the Goal Growth or Control – Sometimes I'm Confused?

Writing is an extremely difficult mode of communication because many aspects of what is being communicated are lost. For instance, you cannot hear the tone of voice, see the facial expressions, or interpret the subtle indicators of body language. All you are left with is the existing textual content. What you are about to read is not meant to be in any way judgmental, critical or harsh. It does not reflect on any particular congregation or denomination. It is a question that must be addressed in every corporate body. I'm not a “Know it all”. I'm simply a Christian attempting to challenge as well as encourage (in positive ways) the application of Scripture to our lives, and “work together” to accomplish the “work of the ministry”.

Every congregation desires to be effective in ministry to their community. Every Pastor or Church leader desires to serve a living, growing, vibrant “Body of believers”. In 1988 Alvin J. Lindgren and Norman Shawchuck co-authored the book, Let My People Go. Within its eight chapters these two explore the need for and outline a path toward “empowering laity for ministry”. In my opinion, one of the most liberating truths presented in this book appears on page fifteen, “The undergirding theological assumption of this book is that the mission is God's – the ministry is ours as God's people.”

The mission: “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Luke 19:10 (JKV, emphasis added)

The ministry: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” 2 Corinthians 5:17-19 (NIV, emphasis added)

The method: “To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. And this I do for the gospel's sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.” 1 Corinthians 9:21-23 (KJV, emphasis added)

The Apostle Paul may have been divinely empowered to become “all things to all men”, but in today's Church it requires a team of believers to accomplish all the varied aspects of ministry. We speak of “servant leadership” and “the priesthood of all believers”. Isn't it time to employ the gifts God has given each individual as a team? The business world has motivated people for years with slogans. One of those is: TEAM – together everyone achieves more. Everyone who is part of the “Body of Christ” is called to be a member of the ministry TEAM.

Our goal is growth. God is in control. Communicate the vision, trust the leading of the Holy Spirit and commit to Meeting Individual Needs In Situations That Refresh You. “Some plant, some water, but God gives the increase” - He never intended a cookie cutter approach to ministry. He created us as individuals, gifted us each with unique talents and abilities, and called us to form “One Body”. Each member has a function. What's yours?

“Once these signs are fulfilled, do whatever your hand finds to do, for God is with you.” 1 Samuel 10:7 (NIV)

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