Some parts of the body are just more glamorous than others. There’s no way around it. The muscular parts or the sexual parts get a lot of attention and make us look twice, but who looks twice at an elbow or a big toe?
When it comes to our experience in Christianity the Apostle Paul compares our belonging to being part of a body. And, just like the human body, there are certain roles within an organization that get a lot of attention and the spotlight. Other roles are more like the elbow or the big toe – not a lot of glamorous attention given to them.
Sometimes not being the spotlight person causes us to sit back and do nothing. “I’m not the pastor, I just attend.” “I’m not a Children’s Church leader, I just show up for the donuts and coffee and to get my spiritual fix for the week.”
But that’s not the way it’s supposed to be.
You see – in the Church there are no bench warmers. Everyone is supposed to step up and play an active role in the ministry. It doesn’t matter if you’re the bicep who does the heavy lifting and looks great when flexed. You have your own role to play. Paul puts it this way:
4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5 and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; 6 and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. 7 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8 For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.
12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. 14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? 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. 21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” (1 Corinthians 12:4-21)
There it is. Everyone has a role to play – you don’t get out of serving just because you’re not such-and-such like you-know-who. It doesn’t matter what others can do. God calls us to use our gifts to serve.
In practice it comes down to the local church being made up of DOZENS of ministers, not just the pastor. God has called ALL Christians to do ministry. Many churches have taken an unbiblical perspective that the pastor is the one who should do the ministry of the church. The fact is, if people are expecting pastors to do the entire ministry of the church then the pastor will burn out and the people in the church will never live up to the gifts and callings that God has given them.
As a pastor it is my desire to help people discover how they can use the gifts that God has given them in order to be ministers. My church is launching a pastoral care & visitation ministry in the next few weeks. We’re training church members how to do visitation and provide pastoral care to others in the church. That’s AWESOME! That’s people stepping up to do ministry, to BE ministers.
Pastor Leroy Howe says it like this:
“We must stop using the word pastoral to refer only to the work of a congregation’s leader. Instead we must use it to refer to a particular kind of caring relationship and attitude, one that all Christians are called to cultivate toward others, with shepherding as its central image.”
So get off the sidelines and get into the game! What gifts has God given you? How can you serve Him and minister to others? There is an important place for you in the Kingdom of God that is not being filled as long as you’re warming the bench. Every part of the body needs to be functioning if we’re to have a fully healthy body.
How can you step up and minister to others for God’s sake?