TRCC Distinctive: Ministry
In the past weeks, we have said that every service done in the work of the church is not a waste of time. My intention today is to continue to speak to that from the Scriptures for the purpose of encouraging more work from more people as the Lord of the Harvest might give to those who have ears to hear.
It is the Lord Jesus who sends laborers. Jesus told us to ask him. It’s his role, through the Spirit, to move you to serve. Its our job to catch those he calls through the faithful preaching of the text and the shepherding of people to be equipped to do the work.
All of this takes time and effort and trial and error.
“Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox.” (Proverbs 14:4 ESV)
The idea is that an ox can make a mess in the stalls of the barn, but an ox does more work than the man manning the plow. Therefore, it’s worth the work of cleaning out messes in stalls to get to the abundant benefit of the ox.
A fallacy is that it’s easier, most of the time, to just do a task rather than take the time to equip someone to do it and then teach them to do it better, then bear with them when they don’t do it, and then teach them to do it better until they do it as an expert.
Although that may appear easier, it’s not pastoral ministry and it’s building something that can’t stand. The ministry of Three Rivers Community Church must never be staked on an elder.
The reason is that we are not defined by one elder. We have a Chief Shepherd, Jesus, Peter calls him (1 Peter 5:4), who leads us, and we are all growing up into him.
Therefore, it is not the elder’s job to do the tasks, but the elder’s job to teach you and help you do the tasks and grow up into Christ Jesus, our Head and Chief Shepherd.
Therefore, there can be NO ONE who is not engaged.
However, this does not mean that everyone should take over, start and / or manage a “ministry” with an organizational structure.
So, the question is, what is ministry? What is the individual’s role in that? What is the role of the elder in our life together as a local church? What is our goal / end / purpose in ministry?
1. Ministry is service to the church and service to the world and service to the
Lord (worship) for Jesus’ fame Ephesians 4:1-16
The word for ministry is “diakonias”, deacon.
. diakonías, fem. noun from diákonos (1249), deacon, servant. Service, attendance, ministry. Verb, diakonéō (1247), to minister, serve.
(I) Service towards a master or guest, at table or in hospitality (Luke 10:40; 1 Cor. 16:15).
(II) Ministry, ministration, i.e., the office of ministering in divine things, spoken chiefly of apostles and teachers (Acts 1:17, 25; 6:4; 20:24; 21:19; Rom. 11:13; 1 Cor. 12:5; 2 Cor. 3:7–9; 4:1; 5:18; 6:3; Eph. 4:12; Col. 4:17; 1 Tim. 1:12; 2 Tim. 4:5, 11). Used once of the office of a diákonos (1249), deacon (Rom. 12:7). Some, however, take this to have a wider sense as above.
(III) In the sense of aid meaning relief as spoken of alms, contributions (Acts 11:29; Rom. 15:31 [see Rom. 15:26]; 2 Cor. 8:4; 9:1, 13; 11:8; Rev. 2:19). Spoken of the distribution or ministration of alms collected (Acts 6:1; 12:25, see 11:30; 2 Cor. 9:12). Diakonía involves compassionate love towards the needy within the Christian community (Acts 6:1, 4; 2 Cor. 8:4; 9:12, 13; Rev. 2:19). Every business, every calling, so far as its labor benefits others, is a diakonía. In this sense Paul and Luke in the Acts use the word to designate the vocation of those who preach the gospel and have the care of the churches (Acts 20:24; Rom. 11:13; 1 Cor. 12:5; Col. 4:17; 1 Tim. 1:12; 2 Tim. 4:5). Therefore, diakonía is an office or ministration in the Christian community viewed with reference to the labor needed for others, both in the case of individuals (1 Cor. 12:5), and generally as a total concept including all branches of service (Rom. 12:7; 2 Cor. 4:1; 6:3; Eph. 4:12; 1 Tim. 1:12).
Ministry: “Every business, every calling, so far as its labor benefits others, is a diakonía. In this sense Paul and Luke in the Acts use the word to designate the vocation of those who preach the gospel and have the care of the churches (Acts 20:24; Rom. 11:13; 1 Cor. 12:5; Col. 4:17; 1 Tim. 1:12; 2 Tim. 4:5). Therefore, diakonía is an office or ministration in the Christian community viewed with reference to the labor needed for others, both in the case of individuals (1 Cor. 12:5), and generally as a total concept including all branches of service (Rom. 12:7; 2 Cor. 4:1; 6:3; Eph. 4:12; 1 Tim. 1:12).”
A. Service toward a guest, hospitality
B. Relief (contributions to people in need, particularly in the Christian community)
C. Compassion / Love toward the needy within the Christian community
D. Service in things such as the work of the apostles, prophets, evangelists and pastor/ teachers
E. Service in the office of deacon, as defined as an office of the church
What is your role in ministry (service)?
A. Know your giftedness and operate in it for the church’s benefit
1. Gift – the grace of God-given to you that benefits the mission of the church, the people of the church and makes you exceedingly happy in doing it.
a. Gifts are discovered in community doing ministry not by taking a test. A good test can be helpful, but does not measure supernatural giftedness from the Spirit.
B. Fill needed roles and don’t assume someone else will do it
C. Understand, no matter what the role it, that it benefits the larger mission of the church
D. Be holy
E. Be present
F. Be observant and take note of needs and meet them
G. Know that all internal ministry, done well, benefits the external ministry of the church
Illustration: there are encouragers here given by the Spirit for the purpose of lifting the heads of some. Some of you are given for me. You serve me with timely words that lift my soul and fill me with courage and strength to keep working. There is benefit in my salvation, in your exercise of the gift given by the Spirit and in the external work of the church.
2. Ministry brings unity while engaging each different and necessary gift
Though “one” in our common connection with “one Lord, one faith, &c., one God,” yet “each one of us” has assigned to him his own particular gift, to be used for the good of the whole: none is overlooked; none therefore can be dispensed with for the edifying of the Church (Eph 4:12).
3. All Christians are gifted by the Spirit for ministry Ephesians 4:7-8
“Whatever gifts you have that you aren’t exercising (begin to use it/them) because it’s robbing the body of that gift that was meant to be exercised. You may not even see it as a “kingdom gift”, but instead as a “secular gift”. All the gifts you have are from God, therefore all are to be used for his glory.” – Emmett Long
A. The Spirit gifts individually as he wills 1 Corinthians 12:11
B. Love for each other is more excellent than pursuit of gifts 1 Corinthians 12:31
C. Desire the gifts of the Spirit to serve the church and the mission 1 Corinthians 12:31
D. Discover/refine your gift by serving
E. Everyone is vital and needed and valued
4. Jesus gave apostles, prophets, evangelists and pastor / teachers to equip saints and build up the body not to do all the doing Ephesians 4:11-12
A. Equip is the word “katartismos” – to make adequate, to furnish completely.
B. Equipping involves teaching (from Scripture, “how to” do specific work, etc.)
C. Equipped servants / ministers build up the church with the pastor/teachers
D. If apostles, evangelists, pastor/teachers do the ministry there is no teaching and equipping and then we are no different than the Catholic church (many little protestant popes running their fiefdoms)
E. Equipping must look like 2 Timothy 2:2 “ and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”
5. Ministry must build up the body of Christ not the ministry itself Ephesians 4:12
A. Ministry builds up the body of Christ (the church) 4:12
B. Ministry brings unity of the faith 4:3, 4:13a (that is unity produced by our common trust in Jesus)
C. Ministry grows our knowing of the Son of God 4:13b-14
1. Ministry grows our knowledge of Jesus to the fullness
2. Growth in Jesus through ministry helps us not be tossed around by human schemes
D. Ministry involves speaking truthfully lovingly 4:15
E. Ministry involves everyone doing their part while growing into Christ Jesus 4:16a
F. Proper growth in the church comes from each part working properly in love 4:16b
6. We, as TRCC, have to grow into doing Ephesians 4 ministry
A. Your elders need to grow into ministry equippers not ministry doers
B. Ministries need to be allowed to die if need be
1. If no one will do it, then we probably don’t need it
C. We have to walk a delicate line between organic and organization
D. We have to be comfortable with failed effort
1. It could be from lack of good organization
2. It could be from a chance for Father to grow us and teach us
3. It could be from over-organization and not allowing natural processes to work themselves out
7. What do we currently need?
A. Connect group leaders
B. Publications: brochures, email newsletters, signs, website, etc.
D. Radical Kids workers
E. Setup/teardown help
F. Wisdom for big-picture decisions
G. One on one relationships between young men and older men; young women and older women; young families and older families
H. Website maintenance