Giving Through Service
In Ephesians 4:11-13, the apostle Paul tells us that Christ has placed men and women in leadership positions in the church in order “to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”
From this passage, Paul gives us two insights into church ministry. First, the ministry of the church is done by the entire congregation, with leadership in an equipping role. The ministry staff in a church, including the pastor, is placed there by God to equip church members to serve in church ministry and to go out and make disciples. God has called us to serve each other in the church, and He has gifted each of us in different ways for that service. Second, when the leaders equip the whole congregation for ministry, the result is unity and maturity.
Check out 1 Peter 4:10-11, for example. It says, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.”
These gifts are for the strengthening of the whole body, not just various parts. God has gifted each of us in different ways so that no part of the church is left behind. And no one ministry is more important than another, because our goal in serving is to help the whole body grow to maturity in Christ.
However, don’t be discouraged if the area you feel gifted in is already full of volunteers. There are times when a need arises in the church and God may call you to serve there in a temporary capacity. You may fear you won’t serve well or find fulfillment there because it isn’t where you would “normally” serve, but look back at the passage from 1 Peter, where it says “if anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides.” God provides the gifts and he provides the call to serve, so of course he would also provide us with the strength to succeed.
Of course, there are times we might feel like we don’t have any sort of gifting that would be useful for ministry. Maybe you feel like you haven’t been a Christian long enough or you don’t see anywhere in the church where your particular gifts would be put to good use. Paul directly rejects this idea of uselessness in 1 Corinthians 12, where he uses the image of a body made up with many diverse members to illustrate service in the church. God designs each part of the body with a diversity of gifts just as He wants, and places them exactly where he needs them, in order for the body to function properly.
What does that mean for us? Well, it means that we should serve in the church wherever we can. There are so many volunteer opportunities in the church that are crucial to its health, and in this issue of Redefined, we’ve highlighted a few of them. But just as every part of the body serves in different but essential ways, so do we, even in areas that may not appear in this issue.
We recognize that as members of the body, we are tasked with serving one another in different capacities in order for us to mature in our faith, to the glory of God. So don’t just come as a spectator on Sunday mornings, and instead find a place to serve so our church can grow together as one healthy body, pointing each other to Christ. And don’t be discouraged if you’re unsure about where to serve. Pray that God would reveal the gifts he has given you, and if he is calling you to serve in a specific area, we have included a list of ministry needs and how to get involved on the next page. Don’t see one that fits but you still want to serve, contact our Ministry Staff, and they will happily get you plugged in somewhere.
To discover many of the opportunities we have at FBC Starkville for you to serve, go to fbcstarkville.com/serve.