Thesis: Every Christian is a minister with a responsibility to serve.
1. I love being a minister!
a. Preaching ... Weddings ... Baptisms ... Funerals.
b. Illust. "Folder of Encouragement" (read excerpts)
2. But do you know what's sad? So many of you have been led to think that only special people can have these experiences. People who have been trained. People who know Greek. People with special certificates from special places.
a. That's not the case!
b. You are every bit as much a minister as I am!
c. This AM we want to explore a text that teaches this truth (Eph. 4)
I. LOOKING AT THE TEXT (Eph. 4:1-16).
A. Read the text. < Comment after ... >
1. VERSE 3: Don't have to make unity, just have to keep it!
2. VERSE 8: Psalm 68:18 reads a little different, but Paul is inspired!
3. VERSE 10: The way up is the way down!
4. VERSE 12: "Prepare GOD'S PEOPLE for service."
B. If you are a Christian you are a minister!
1. 1 Peter 2:9.
2. Romans 12:1-8.
II. REDEFINING THE MINISTRY.
A. To be a minister you don't have to be MULTI-TALENTED.
1. If you can only do 1 thing you're a minister!
2. Each has gifts "according to the grace given."
B. To be a minister you don't have to be VERBAL.
1. At Corinth most prized gift was "tongues"--still is!
2. Those who speak most = most involved in min. NOT!
3. Sometimes reverse is true! Speaking small part.
C. To be minister you don't have to be on CHURCH LETTERHEAD.
1. Sometimes names on CL convey status, not service.
2. Church in TN: sign outside--Minister: every member.
3. Accurately reflects NT teaching.
D. To be a minister you don't even have to be MALE.
1. In the NT church are all ministers male? (NO!)
2. Important to recognize in Scripture the extent to which women were involved in ministry of church:
a. Luke 8:3--women financially supported Jesus.
b. Phil. 4:3--contended at side for cause of gospel.
c. Acts 18:18--Priscilla & Aquila teach Apollos.
d. Romans 16--25 names--nearly half are women!
3. These women were not just staffing the nursery and baking cookies!
III. MAKING "EVERY-MEMBER MINISTRY" A REALITY.
A. We must take the NT teaching seriously.
1. There are spiritual gifts today. (non-miraculous)
2. Every member has a gift.
3. Every member has the responsibility to use it.
B. We must emphasize the equipping task of leaders.
1. Eph. 4:12--katartizo: equip, furnish, complete (cf. Matt. 4:21/Mark 1:19; Gal. 6:1). Knit folks together!
2. Provide an opportunity for each to serve.
3. Get out of the way!
C. We must continually re-think how we "do church."
1. Typically create program & ask for volunteers.
2. Why not let gifted people create their own programs?
1. Vernard Eller, in The Outward Bound, says each congregation must decide to be either a COMMISSARY or a CARAVAN.
a. Many of you know what a commissary is! (Institution)
1) Store that exists for benefit of military personnel.
2) Entitled to use it whether you are active duty or not.
3) A commissary is there to serve you; you don't serve it!
b. A caravan, on the other hand is different. (Group of people)
1) Group on move ... going somewhere ... not arrived yet ... not in same place tomorrow as today (wagon trains).
2) Group effort--doesn't work if each doesn't do their part!
2. This church is a caravan. We haven't arrived. We're going someplace. And we need you to do your part. Will you do it?