We have a spectator model of the Church here in North America and in many others nations of the world. People come to the service on Sunday and watch the experts fulfill their calling as they lead worship, teach, minister, and pray. Then they go home having fulfilled their Christian obligation for the week. Most denominational churches and many Charismatic and Spirit-filled churches function in this manner.
It is an Old Testament model of the priesthood where those select few are ordained and anointed to do the ministry – celebrate the Lord’s Supper, bless the people, minister God’s Word. The New Testament Church did not continue that model of ministry after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ who is the head of the Church. Instead it taught that every member is a minister because every born again Christian belongs to the priesthood of all believers. (1 Peter 2:9)
In the New Testament there was no such thing as the clergy and the laity – simply believers. Yes, there were some specific tasks certain people were called to fulfill – five-fold ministry roles, deacons, helps, administration… but fulfilling one of these roles did not make you “clergy” and if you didn’t have one of these callings then you were “laity.” That is a man-made system and not a God-given structure.
The word ‘laity’ means amature. When I go to the doctor for a medical issue I am going to someone who is the expert and I am certainly a bit of an amature having never even taken high school biology. So, I am expecting him to be the knowledgable one as I am certainly not well informed. But, this was never meant to be the way the Church functioned. Jesus wants everyone in His Church to have a ministry and fulfill the call on the Church to “go into all the world…” (Matthew 28:18).
In the Church Jesus called certain people to be apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. The task of these five-fold ministers (Ephesians 4:11-16) is to equip the saints for the work of the ministry. It is not their task to do the ministry. Rather it is their job to teach the believers how to minister supernaturally and touch others with the love of God. They are the coaches and believers are the players on the field. However, in most churches it is the coaching staff playing the game on the field while the team sits in the stands and watches. And, we wonder why so many (1,500 a month in North America) are leaving the ministry.
Every believer is called into the ministry and is called to touch lives with the love of God. Every believer has a call and an anointing from God. Every believer has a specific task that they were created and called to fulfill (Ephesians 2:10). Every believer is to follow in the footsteps of Jesus and do what He did. He told His followers just this. “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. (John 14:12)
Now, when you look around and see the people in your world – the needs and the pain in people’s lives can be overwhelming. Don’t look at the big picture. Focus on the one person the Lord has placed in front of you and minister to them. Touch their life with the love of God as found only in Jesus Christ. Malcolm Bane once said, “If you wait until you can do everything for everybody, instead of something for somebody, you’ll end up not doing anything for anybody.” So each day find that one person and touch their lives as a minister of the Gospel and as an ambassador for Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20) and help them to cross the line of faith and be reconciled to God because that is YOUR calling (2 Corinthians 5:17-18).
Each One – Reach One and we will soon see multitudes coming into the Kingdom of God.