Posted by: pastortomvabeach | August 4, 2015

Thought For The Week August 9, 2015

Many thanks to Pastor Doug, who took the reins for a week while I was on vacation hosting my daughter’s family. He did a great job! And, as for me, I need a vacation from the vacation!

Our next installment of the basic beliefs of the Assemblies of God is “The Ministry”. Paul, in Ephesians, tells us that God has provided spiritual leaders to the church. Some call this the five-fold ministry: He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers (Ephesians 4:11). God calls and gifts individuals to fill these leadership positions and some, though not all, are called to serve in these positions full time deriving their support from the donations of those they serve which is supported in the Scripture; Elders who do their work well should be respected and paid well, especially those who work hard at both preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, “You must not muzzle an ox to keep it from eating as it treads out the grain.” And in another place, “Those who work deserve their pay!” (I Timothy 5:17-18 NLT).

Some Christians get the idea that since these leaders are gifted, called, and most especially, paid to serve that all of the ministry (evangelism, worship, teaching, etc.) is supposed to be done by these leaders. That is not the case. Paul tells us why Jesus put these ministries in the body of Christ back in Ephesians, Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. (Ephesians 4:12-13 NLT). This tells us that, while some are called to a greater degree of service, even full time service, their main duty is to teach, train, lead, equip, prepare everyone in the body of Christ to carry out all of the ministries of the church.

The Ministry is not restricted to those individuals who are in full time service. Everyone in the church is called a “priest” (I Peter 2:5). Paul lists many different spiritual gifts that are needed to “edify” or build up the body of Christ; prophecy, serving, encouraging, giving, mercy, hospitality, leading, administrating, miracles, faith, discernment, healing, etc. (see Romans 12 and I Corinthians 12). There is so much need in the world and in the local church that the full time servants could never take care of every need nor would they be so gifted.

The success of any local church in fulfilling its missions (making disciples of all nations) depends totally on everyone in the local body answering God’s call, finding and using each one’s gifts, and serving in the anointing of the Holy Spirit. From the lead pastors to the nursery workers, every believer is a minister (servant) and every one is vital to the local church and to the church around the world. Listen to Paul’s words; there are many members, yet one body…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.” No…those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary…God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. (I Corinthians 12:20-25).

The Assemblies of God provides for recognizing the call to leadership in ministry by granting ministerial credentials to those who can demonstrate God’s call on their lives. Our fellowship does not call people to ministry but recognizes God’s call on the lives of individuals. The process includes certain educational requirements, an application, interviews, and tests. Anyone interested in pursuing this process should contact their pastor to get things rolling.

Serving as a ministry partner (alongside every other servant) in our local church is pretty simple. We require an application, references, and a minimum of time in our local church in order to serve. Whatever may be your spiritual gifting (everyone has at least one gift), there is a place to serve. Have you discovered your place? As Paul says, you can’t say that we don’t need you. You are vitally important to your church reaching the lost and making disciples for Jesus here in your city. Think about that!

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