Summary: Nine Ways that the Spirit helps maximize the contribution of the laity in your fellowship.
The Rich Reservoir of Resources in the Laity (Matt 9:36-38)
Illustration:Dwight L. Moody was greatly moved by a lay preacher’s statement that the world has yet to see what God can do through a person fully yielded to Him. Because an attitude of submission is far more important than outward appearance, some unlikely people have become spiritual giants.
The first time I met Pete, he had a 2-day growth of stubble, a missing front tooth, and a suit that looked as if he had slept in it. But I discovered that God was using him in an unusual way to reach disadvantaged people.
Philip Yancey described the late Bill Leslie as "disheveled," "disorganized," and one who "laughed uproariously at his own (bad) jokes." But he points out that as pastor of the LaSalle Street Church in Chicago, this man had led many people to Christ and brought great social and economic changes to that part of the city. This unlikely spiritual giant died at age 60 after three decades of work in the inner city.
Pete and Bill remind me of John the Baptist. Although he lived as a recluse and wore a rough, camel’s-hair garment, he had a ministry to thousands. Jesus called him the greatest of the prophets (Lk. 7:28).
God uses ordinary people, and He wants to use you. Serve Him humbly, zealously, and expectantly (Our Daily Bread)
1. The Holy Spirit helps us wisely pray to the Lord of the harvest to send workers into His harvesting fields. Jesus said, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest to send more workers into His fields." (Matt. 9:36-38) Ask the Lord to help you pray with powerful faith that God will answer His promise to help you select, train and send lay workers into the most strategic fields that are ripe for harvesting.
2. The Holy Spirit helps us equip, furnish and supply lay people with whatever they need for the work of the ministry of the building up of the body of Christ. Paul wrote, "He gave some to be special messengers, some to be inspired preachers and expositors, some to be preachers of the Gospel, some to be missionaries, some to be shepherds of His flock and some to be teachers for the full equipping of His consecrated people that they should do the work of ministering toward the building of Christ’s body - the church." (Eph. 4:11,12 - Amplified) Ask the Lord to help you work in cooperation with many people who possess all the spiritual gifts needed for the equipping of the saints to accomplish God’s full services and ministries.
3. The Holy Spirit guides lay people to discover God’s will, their spiritual gifts and the area of ministry where they will be most fruitful. Paul wrote, "I am satisfied about you, my brethren, that you yourselves are rich in goodness, amply filled with all spiritual knowledge and competent to admonish and counsel and instruct one another." (Rom. 15:13) Ask the Lord to assure lay people of the sufficiency of the Spirit to supply them with whatever they need through the benefits found in God’s word.
4. The Holy Spirit knows how to match each lay person’s maturity with the ministry responsibility that is most suitable. Paul wrote, "For by the grace given to me, I warn everyone among you not to over estimate or under appreciate the measure of faith has built into you. Do not think of yourself more highly or more lowly than you ought (Do not have an exaggerated opinion of your own importance or your lack of skills), but rate your ability with sober judgment, each according to the degree of faith apportioned by God to him." (Rom. 12:3- Amplified) Ask the Lord to help your lay members to find ministries that best correspond with their level of spiritual, mental, emotional, social, and ministry maturity.
5. The Holy Spirit multiplies house fellowships, work place fellowships and special fellowships where lay people can lead a prayerful fellowship of God’s people. Many people are afraid to share the gospel out in the open, but they find it enjoyable to pray with other believers in small group fellowships for those who still need Christ. The Lord uses lay people to win 86% of the new converts to Christ every year through close personal friendships. Dr. Luke wrote, "And day after day they regularly assembled in the temple with united purpose, and in their homes they broke bread (Including the Lord’s supper). They partook of their food with gladness and simplicity and generous hearts." (Acts 2:46- Amplified) Ask the Lord to multiply Christ’s kingdom and righteousness through lay led fellowships in numerous places of the world.
6. The Holy Spirit is able to use the 99.9% of Christ’s body made of lay people in much greater ways than the .1% of Christ’s body that comprise the professional clergy. Scripture and its corresponding ministry responsibilities were written to all believers not just to professional clergy. Paul wrote, "Every Scripture is given His inspiration and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience and for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God’s will in thought, purpose and action). So that the man of God may be complete and proficient, well fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work." (2 Tim. 3:16,17) Ask the Lord to help you find more ways to motivate, enable and teach lay people how they can find fulfilling involvement in important ministries.