1 Corinthians 12:27-30 “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28 And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?”
None of us as leaders have all the spiritual gifts necessary to do the work of the ministry alone or even with a few key people. The Lord has blessed people with various gifts of the Holy Spirit. If those gifts are not used and developed the body of Christ is crippled. Less people come to know Jesus.
Preliminary Conclusion: In our mission culture in America, most adults have not been discipled adequately through traditional methods. They do not understand the basics of Christianity let alone servanthood. Neither have been modeled very well. The body of Christ is severely crippled. When people are given baby steps into responsibilities that they see they can make a difference in it will be transformational for them.
Conclusion: We need to work to involve and invite people to witness and participate with those who also model maturity and what it means to be a disciple who serves.
Radical conclusion: if God is more interested in doing a work in us than through us - then all ministry activities and events become first an opportunity for people to be involved and grow in the use of their God given gifts and talents. The event will still occur and accomplish its regularly understood purpose.
Put another way: Ministry events are first and foremost vehicles and opportunities to involve and develop people and the ministry goal of the event will take care of itself (often in ways and degrees that we do not expect)
Put in a more radical way: Ministry events are dreamed up as an “excuse” to create positions of responsibilities and activities for the purpose of involving and developing people. Amazingly through this process goal of developing people first God will transform the people who are involved in the putting on of the event as well as those who are involved in the event itself.
Sunday School – Stated Goal: educate Children in the Christian faith.
New primary goal: It is primarily a vehicle to educate and grow adults who will in turn influence children for Christ in Sunday school, home, community and beyond. As this new goal is pursued the stated goal in accomplished along the way.
Fellowship Event – Stated Goal: Develop community among people.
New Primary Goal: Involve as many people as possible in as many responsibilities as can be invented in order to give people ownership, involvement, and the opportunity to stretch and grow in new ways. Former stated goal is accomplished along the way. Yet when the new primary goal is pursued there is more participation and a greater likelihood of involvement in the future, good will, etc.
The Blessings: More of the body of Christ is mobilized for ministry. More rejoice in the wonder of being used by God to bless people. More are touched by the blessing of the ministry. More are discipled. There is a division of labor and less people are burnt out. There is more joy in ministry as people flourish in their God given abilities rather than struggle in ministries that are beyond their primary giftedness. More people come to Christ. More people are inspired to worship and receive the Word and Sacraments.
THOUGHTS AND ATTITUDES WHICH CHALLENGE US:
- I can do it better, faster, myself.
- They will make mistakes, forget, drop the ball, etc.
- It takes too much work to invite, creatively involve, supervise others etc.
- If this event doesn’t go as well as I can do it myself then I will look bad (I want to get people’s strokes by doing a good job!)
- But the real goal is the stated goal! Isn’t that taking your eye off the ball?
What do you lose with each of these?
What do you really want?
Empowerment Part 7 The Goal is Not the Goal