Ephesians 4:11-13 says, "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, and unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:"
Here in Ephesians 4, Paul lays out what seems to be some spiritual gifts. The thrust here, however, is not the spiritual gifts as much as it is the purpose for why God gave the various ministers to the church. If you notice, Paul insists that pastors (including other local church leadership) was given to the church to equip the saints for the work of the ministry. The work of the ministry does not, according to the apostle, and should not rest on the shoulders of the pastor and leadership. The work of the ministry is for the saints; the pastors and teachers are to equip the saints for the work of the ministry.
Too often, in American church culture, we tend to think about the work of the ministry and the work of the church to be the pastor's responsibility. I mean, why else would we pay him, right? This attitude develops a consumer, spectator form of Christianity where parishioners come and observe the ministry instead of engaging in the ministry. It leads to the household statistic that 98% of the work gets done by 2% of the people. Make no mistake: God has called every believer to be part of the ministry.
A believer who is not serving in some capacity of the ministry of their local church is a believer who is living in disobedience. What area of ministry are you using the gifting that God has given you to further the work of the ministry? God has not called everyone to be a pastor, a preacher, or even a teacher. However, God has created every believer with an ability that can and should be used to contribute to the ministry. You don't have to have the same gifts as everyone else. God has made you as you and wants to use you as you. If you're having a hard time finding or thinking of a place where you can serve, ask your pastor. If you are having a hard time identifying your gifting, fill out this survey to help: https://gifts.churchgrowth.org/spiritual-gifts-survey/.
Kyle Idleman, in Not a Fan, uses the powerful illustration of a sporting event and fans versus players. You can be a passionate, consumed fan of Christ, but a fan sits in the stands and never experiences the action of playing the game. Although Idleman uses this analogy and applies it to the follower versus fan of Jesus, we can appropriately use it for the church. Too many times we are the fan who may support the ministry from the sidelines but never engages in the action of the ministry itself.
The heart of the matter is that every believer should be serving in his or her local church. Are you serving to the best of your capacity? Is there more you can be doing because you're holding back from the Lord? Where are you faithfully serving the Lord? Get engaged into Christ's ministry. We are Christ's and He has been gracious enough to allow us a part in that same ministry!
GOD’S MAN CHALLENGE
"Do not be a spectator, but engage in the ministry!"
GOD’S MAN PRAYER
Lord, thank You for allowing me to be a part of Your wonderful ministry. Please help me to serve You faithfully with whatever gifts You have given me. AMEN.