If there was one lesson, I learned growing up in a small Baptist church in South Carolina it was the reality that all followers of Jesus are called to minister to the needs around them. Growing up, it was common to hear messages preached on Sundays and see ministries led during the week by unpaid men and women. They were not “professionals,” but they understood that God wanted to use them to meet the internal and external needs of their community.
It was not until I was in college that I realized that this was not a common experience among churches in America. Many Christians walk out the doors of their church each Sunday feeling their primary goal is to provide financially for the paid professionals. However, Scripture would say this is not the case. As Paul wrote to the churches at Ephesus, he spoke to them of how God gave pastors, “to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ”(Eph.4: 11-12 ESV). This being true, the primary role of church leadership is to equip the body of believers to do the actual day-to-day ministry. Being witnesses for Christ in break rooms, cafeterias, and children’s ball game practices- these are the places where day-to-day ministry takes place.
How different would the majority of our churches in America be, if pastors understood that their primary responsibility was to equip the church?
How different would churches be if men and women were equipped, empowered, and understood that their primary responsibility was to minister where the Lord has placed them?
The Mission of God, “to seek and to save the lost”(Luke 19:10), is far too great to be accomplished by only the professionals. For it to be accomplished, all followers of Jesus must understand that they are both obligated and commissioned to share the love of Jesus Christ wherever they find themselves.