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This is entirely appropriate, for that is where the action is, that is where the work of the church is being carried out on a day-to-day basis.

The purpose of the whole complex effort of ministry is to building up or edifying of the body of Christ. For this reason some persons are appointed “pastors and teachers” to equip the laity, to enable the whole body to build itself up in love, to prepare it inwardly and outwardly, to get it ready for its task, and to provide logistical support for the mission to be accomplished. The Pastor’s primary task is to equip the body, not try to do everything for the laity.

Jesus called the apostles to enlist and train others in order to carry out the mission of the Church. Jesus thereby provided and exemplary model of pastoral leadership and organizational and administrative shepherding as He called the twelve together, taught them, and later expanded His effort to send out seventy others to accomplish the mission.

The Church would not be the Church if it did not exist in mission. The embodiment, the actualization, the funding, and the organization of that mission is an intrinsic part of the mission itself.

The ministry of the laity is the work of mission or ministry to which each believer is called. As Christians we are all called to this ministry or priesthood – not just clergy. Each of us has a responsibility to proclaim the Good News and reach out to others in love.

Are leaders born or made? I think both. On the one hand, leadership is an elusive and electric quality that comes directly from God. On the other, leadership skills are distributed widely among every community and should be cultivated and developed.

The work of ministry is more than just preaching. Ministry includes praying, teaching, giving, helping. When members are equipped for the work of ministry, they touch the lives of lost people outside the Church in a meaningful way. Through their witness, the lost are brought to Christ. Every Christians is a witness. The entire membership should be involved in the work of evangelism.

18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. (1 Corinthians 12:18-20). 

In my understanding the laity stand at the very outposts of the kingdom of God they are the missionaries of Christ in every secular sphere. We must understand anew the implication of the fact that they are all baptized, that, as Christ came to minister, so must all Christians become ministers of the saving purpose according to the particular gift of the Spirit which each has received.

The Church is an institution based upon spirituality, faith, and long established teachings. Everything done by the Church must be consistent with these prescribed practices. The simple fact is that all members of the parish community, clergy and laity alike, should work together in all phases of church life. Our various services and liturgies contain roles for clergy and laity. A priest cannot perform them without the involvement of all those in attendance.

Given the importance of Biblical stewardship in the lives of their congregants, a key responsibility of leadership-pastoral, staff, and lay-is to ensure that the Church consistently and effectively models and teaches Biblical stewardship and provides training opportunities for personal implementation. In short, a Church must intentionally craft a stewardship atmosphere or culture. We are called to reshape the values of our people, who live in the flawed economy of a kingdom other than the Kingdom of God. As a stewardship culture is created within the Church, our people receive a great gift. Their hearts are transformed, they are more fully conformed to the image of Christ, and they experience the benefits of the economy of the Kingdom of God.

In my opinion if the local church is to be strong and vibrant, laity must wear the role of tither, embodied by the Stewardship of Time and Stewardship of Talents.

How wonderful it would be if we could discover the plan for producing great men and women for the ministry. This is a serious job an important job a job with a future. Congregations have more to do than congregate. Laymen have more to do than pass the plate on Sunday. Each man needs a magnificent role in the ministry.

All of the gifts of service are for the Church and belong to the Church. It is the Church which discerns who possesses these gifts. A person is not delegated by the community to perform a ministry. The person is gifted by God for the ministry, but the community helps discern the call expresses the readiness to use this ministry in its life and mission.

As the reality of the Church as an organism has been reclaimed, we have discovered that all new creatures in Christ are gifted for ministry. Ministry is not to be equated with what professional leaders do; ministry has been given to all God’s people. Therefore, the pastor’s role is not to guard ministry jealously for him or herself, but instead to turn the spotlight on this multi-gifted body. In the process, God’s people are discovering that in fact they are gifted to serve.

Therefore, the importance of the minister’s role in empowering the laity cannot be overestimated and denied. If ministers were to take this task seriously, treating it as a top priority, then the Church’s entire missional and ministerial programs could be strengthened and renewed.

To me, the clearest expression of body ministry’s becoming a reality has been the influx of able and gifted men and women into service. When we begin to view ministry as what God performs through all persons, the doors are flung open to the children of God.  We must find ways to discern the gifts of all members of the body of Christ, to invite them to recognize calls to particular tasks within that body, and to provide appropriate preparations for those who feel called to specific tasks.

I would pray that the Spirit would continue to call and send committed laypeople to the most confounding places in all over the world: societies, public schools, political arenas, the legal profession, and the establishment media. Amen

“‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams” (Acts. 2:17)

 

 

 

Blessings!  

Pastor Mark
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