Summary: Being a Christian means being a minister.
SERIES: “GOD-GIVEN GUIDELINES FOR GROWING A GREAT CHURCH”
TEXT: EPHESIANS 4:7-16
TITLE: Guideline #7: “EVERY MEMBER IN MINISTRY”
(bulk of material from Bob Russel’s When God Builds A Church)
INTRODUCTION: A. Sometimes it’s extremely difficult to get a well-established church to get moving
1. We get too comfortable where we’re at and we don’t want to move.
2. We become like the old farmer who frequently described his Christian
experience by saying, "Well, I’m not making much progress, but I’m established!"
One spring when he was hauling some logs, his wagon wheels sank down to the
axles in mud.
No matter what he tried, he couldn’t get the wagon out. Defeated, he sat atop
the logs, viewing the dismal situation. Soon a neighbor who had always felt
uncomfortable with the farmer’s worn out testimony came along and greeted him,
"Well, brother, I see you’re not making much progress, but you must be content
because you’re well-established!”
B. The real key guideline to get an old established church moving is to insist that every
member be involved in some form of ministry.
1. Now, I don’t want to be misunderstood this morning.
2. I heard about an elderly man who went to his doctor for a physical. The doctor
checked him out thoroughly. He told the elderly fellow that he was basically in
good health for his age, but also gave him some guidelines concerning his lifestyle.
A few weeks go by and the doctor is at a restaurant with his wife. The same
elderly man comes in with a much younger, beautiful woman. The doctor can’t
believe what he’s seeing but sure enough, the old fellow is there and having a
grand old time.
The doctor walks over to the elderly man and his companion and says, “I
thought I gave you some guidelines concerning your lifestyle. How does this fit
into my instructions.”
The old fellow coughs and then says, “I thought you told me to find a hot mama
and be cheerful.” The doctor says, “I must not have checked your hearing well
enough. I said, ‘I found a heart murmur. Be careful.”
3. This is not a ploy for me to get someone else to do my work for me.
a. And I’d be untruthful if I told you I’d never tried to get out of work
b. But I’ll be honest and tell you that I take my position seriously and want to do
the best job possible
4. One of my most important tasks is to see that the Scriptures are followed accurately
a. It’s why I spend so much time studying and taking classes and going to
seminars and conferences
b. I never want to stand in the pulpit or behind a podium and tell you something
that has no biblical merit or basis.
C. You need to know that somewhere along the line, from the 1st Century to now, we
have confused the teaching of Scripture concerning how ministry is to be performed in
the local congregation.
1. Somehow, we have developed a “hired gun” mentality
2. The congregation has become an audience watching the “hired gun” do the work
3. We look at ministry as something that happens to us and blesses us instead of as a
service we perform and that makes us a blessing to others.
4. A congregation that utilizes this method of ministry will become stagnant and die.
a. The Dead Sea is so salty that it contains no fish or plant life. What accounts for
this unusual condition? There are absolutely no outlets! A great volume of water
pours into this area, but nothing flows out. Many inlets plus no outlets equal a
b. This law of nature may also be applied to the church, and it explains why many
congregations are so unfruitful and lacking in spiritual vitality.
c. It’s possible for large numbers of people in a certain church to attend Bible
conferences, listen to Christian radio, read Christian books, study the Scriptures,
and continually take in the Word as it is preached from the pulpit, and yet the
congregation be lifeless and unproductive
d. Churches that have a majority of the congregation that match that description are
like the Dead Sea.
(1). There are plenty of “inlets” but no “outlets.”
(2). To be a vibrant and effective church, we must not only “take in” all we can,
but we must also “give out” in service to others!
I. MANDATE FOR MINISTRY
A. Few things are more exciting than to see hundreds of people willingly give of their time and energy to see
that the church’s ministry continues.
--Few things are more frustrating than to be burdened with the majority of the work of ministry yourself.
1. In my first preaching ministry, I did everything: