Weekly Update: September 29, 2015

11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds, and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, - Ephesians 4:11-12 (ESV)

Dear Family,

The Bible teaches us that ministry is not the sole responsibility of the pastor, but is the responsibility of every believer. Every believer is charged with ministering to others for the sake of building up the Church (body of Christ). I have sometimes come across people who have the strong opinion that ministry is the responsibility of the pastor alone because he is the "ministry professional". The problem is pastors are not able to be everywhere at once (that's a characteristic I've tried to master but to no avail), nor are they all-knowing of every person's situation (that would make us the Holy Spirit), nor are they gifted in every area of ministry (talk about arrogance and pride setting in). In fact, we see in the Bible that Jethro advised Moses to get assistants to hear the cases of Israel because the workload became too great (Exodus 18:13-23), and even Jesus surrounded himself with his disciples. So, the notion that ministry should fall on one person is hardly biblical.

Every believer is called to the ministry and the officer's task is to equip you for the ministry. The officers preach, teach, and educate the saints (all believers) on how to do ministry, but in order to do ministry there must be willing sacrifice. There must be a desire to speak into people's lives, to abandon our comforts, and to be willing to enter into very hard situations. If you are a believer, YOU ARE CALLED TO MINISTER. Pray for people, show them hospitality, encourage them to come to church, take them out for lunch and tell them you care about them, invite people to church events, the list goes on and on.

And how does this willing sacrifice happen? How do we relinquish our comforts for Christ's sake? There's only one way I know, and that is by knowing the depth and magnitude of Christ's sacrifice for you. It's all about Jesus. It always has been and always will be. I challenge you to pray for the Lord to open your heart to minister for the good of the church. Ask the Lord to reveal to you how you can be used for his glory. Pray that God would remove the obstacles of fear and inadequacy from your heart, knowing that ministry is less about you and more about the Spirit working in and through you.

This Sunday we get to come to the table of the new covenant. We get to lavish in the only meal that can nourish and sustain our weary souls. Consider this from Matthew's Gospel:

26 Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” 27 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, 28 for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.” - Matthew 26:26-29 (ESV)

See you on Sunday.

Paul