Article by P. Marie Shaw
This concept of mobilizing every member for ministry and this mandate for the church of Jesus Christ, has captured my attention. I woke up this morning and quoted Michael Brodeur to my husband while we were still in bed: “Every member mobilized!” I wrote it last night in an email to a pastor friend in Seattle named Jamie. Jamie and I went to the same Bible College in the 70’s but had not received in depth ministry coaching.. I told Jamie that I had never heard the depth behind this in seven years at Bethel. But I’m getting it now, and both my husband Bob and I are eating it up. Bob was a pastor for seven years in Spokane, WA in the 1980’s. He wishes he had known all the things about church leadership and church health that we are getting in Pastors Coach back then. I guess, “Better late than never.”
In the Body of Christ, each member must fully function as it was designed to for the whole body to be healthy. This requires that every member understands their gifts and callings. They can then be led to develop and mobilize themselves for service in the church and the marketplace for maximum fruitfulness and fulfillment.
Every church needs to be a life-giving, thriving church that will represent the love and power of God and His kingdom. It needs to be attractive to every visitor, who can then “taste and see that the Lord is good!” This is called Attractional Evangelism. This is one way that the kingdom can advanced and people can be used by God to destroy the works of the devil and bring a full reward to Jesus for His sacrifice for us. How does the church become life-giving and thriving? It requires that every member bring life with him when he comes to church. I am contrasting ‘life-giving’ to ‘life-sucking.’ Life comes from an everyday exposure to the presence of God at home through immersion in prayer and Bible familiarity. From the overflow of that comes life that cannot help but flow out to others.
Most people who go to church every Sunday expect to say hi and give a hug to their friends, maybe smile at someone they have never met, find their seat, and then become an observer. This can go so far that many song services are only entertainment instead of leading people’s spirits into the presence of God for an interactive, give-and-take relationship. No, God wants to be enthroned on the praises of His people. Further, He wants us to be built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets. How does this happen? It happens through christin leadership when people see the value of the apostolic and prophetic giftings, takes notes, and then pray and meditate over the notes, activate that teaching and impartation in their own lives (be willing to change and grow from glory to glory into the image of Christ) and then, during the next week, speak about what they learned with their friends. And all of this is just scratching the surface.
The church members will not have an inkling of any of this if the church leaders do not paint the picture for the members. The people’s sights need to be raised a lot higher. They are valued; they are desperately needed to get the job done. The pastor cannot do it all himself, or he will be burned out in two years. This also is not thriving, and was never intended by God. We are all God’s handiwork (masterpieces in the Greek). The 70-year-old ladies who serve snacks after the service can be just as full of the Spirit of God as the pastor. The 5 year old children can be just as full of revelation as the pastor. The teenagers can be just as full of the healing ministry of Jesus as any elder. If they have the vision.
When every member sees his value in contributing to building up the body and is taught and mobilized to use his gifts for the glory of God, the church body will emanate life, power, and the answers every person on the planet is seeking.