Summary: This is a message to challenge church members to get involved in the ministry of the church
PEOPLE IN MINISTRY
1 Corinthians 12:4-11
INTRO: Who is to do the work of ministry? The church, of course. Who else? Many churches, however, seem to think the pastor, the staff, or the deacons ought to do it.
But consider the example of the early church (Acts 6:1-7). The church chose the seven when a ministry need arose. They did not appoint a Food Distribution Task Force Study Committee. The members are to do the work (ministry) of the church (Ephesians 4:11-12). Pastors are to equip them to do the ministries to which they are called. Two things we need to understand: 1. Lay people are legitimate ministers. 2. Every ministry is important. The typical church has about 25 percent of its members involved in ministry. Congregations do not need more members as much as they need more ministers.
I. LIFT PEOPLE UP (Encouragement).
Our people need inspiration. We need to see people as God sees them. Booker T. Washington said, “You cannot hold a man down without staying down with him.” We don’t want to hold people down. We want to see them prepared and released for ministry. God has given every Christian at least one spiritual gift (Ephesians 4:11). Our ultimate purpose is to glorify and exalt Christ and to lift up his people (Ephesians 4:12-13).
II. LOOK PEOPLE OVER (Enlistment).
This is about recruiting. Identify people’s gifts and abilities. We’re not just looking to fill slots. People need three things to be recruited: 1. A challenge (New Testament concept of servanthood); 2. A change within (surrendering your rights); 3. A choice (God’s will as your will). We need to seek to enlist people scripturally (Ephesians 4:4).
III. LET PEOPLE IN (Enrollment).
This is about commitment. Commitment is not an automatic process. You must show it to others and seek it in others. A good motto is: “Give up your rights; pick up your ministry.” Two of our most precious commodities are time and ability. Those who are being enlisted need to know three things: 1. Philosophy (what they are); 2. Purpose (where they are going); 3. Process (how they will get there).
IV. LINE PEOPLE UP (Equipping).
This is about training. Provide people practical opportunities for training. Give them accountability. Preparing “God’s people for works of service” (Ephesians 4:12, NIV), is not about just assigning warm bodies to fill vacant positions. It’s about enabling people to grow in their spiritual gifts and to become more effective servants of Christ. Equipping is not to be done haphazardly. It is to be done through a process. The process for equipping is: 1. I do it (modeling); 2. I do it and you’re with me (mentoring); 3. You do it and I am with you (monitoring); 4. You do it (multiplying).
V. LET PEOPLE OUT (Implementation).
This is about real ministry. The greatness of a church is not measured in how many come into the church but in how many go out in ministry. The church gathers; then the church scatters. The church must go outside its walls to reach people who need the Lord. The effectiveness of our churches depends on the number of people who are involved in meaningful ministry.