Summary: Building God’s Church through Service(Bob Russell - When God Build’s a Church)
Ministers often hear excuses from folks whom they have asked to serve in some role in church. The next time you feel like GOD can’t use you, just remember...
Noah was a drunk
Abraham was too old
Isaac was a daydreamer
Jacob was a liar
Leah was ugly
Joseph was abused
Moses had a stuttering problem
Gideon was afraid
Sampson had long hair and was a womanizer
Rahab was a prostitute
Jeremiah and Timothy were too young
David had an affair and was a murderer
Elijah was suicidal
Isaiah preached naked
Jonah ran from God
Naomi was a widow
Job went bankrupt
John the Baptist ate bugs
Peter denied Christ
The Disciples fell asleep while praying
Martha worried about everything
The Samaritan woman was divorced, more than once
Zaccheus was too small
Paul was too religious
Timothy had an ulcer...
Lazarus was dead!
This is the fifth in a series of sermons loosely based on Bob Russell’s book “When God Builds a Church.” So far we have talked about Truth, Faith, Excellence, and Leadership. Today we are talking about Service. This point is a bit different than the others. There is a chapter in Russell’s book titled Participation. I changed the title because, at least in my mind, conjured up images of people showing up and singing along with the hymns. When you read Russell’s book, the chapter on Participation is participation in the church’s ministries. I thought that Service was a clearer way to communicate that idea.
Last week we talked about leadership. That focused on the qualities and commitment that is need by the ministers, elders, and other leaders of the congregation. Today we are taking this one more step. We are talking about the need for every member of the congregation to use their time and talents to participate in the ministry of the church.
Our reading from Ephesians today seems to be about leadership. It talks about apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers.
Let me digress for a moment and give you an easy way to remember these five foundational leadership roles. There is a ministry for each finger on your hand. The apostles are the thumb. The thumb is the foundation of the hand and the apostles are the foundation of the church ministry. You use the index finger to point things out, just as the prophetic role involves, not so much predicting the future, but pointing out things that the church needs to address today. The third finger is the longest, just as the evangelists are those who are responsible for extending the church’s touch. The ring finger represents relationships and it is the pastoral ministry that is primarily concerned with our relationships with one another as well as our growing relationship with God. Finally, the little finger is sometimes forgotten. Similarly, teaching is one of the most important ministries within the church, but it is one that is too little appreciated and too often forgotten.
Ephesians talks about these important roles, but what are these roles for? Does Paul tell us that these roles exist to change the world? Listen to the text.