Ministry (The component of discipleship that seems hard to most groups)
“Ministry Projects…mm... It’s already that time again? What in the world are we going to do this time?” This could possibly be your thoughts if you’re like most D-groups. I want to share a possible solution that might keep you from dreading ministry and instead make you passionate about it.
Since starting D-Life we as a church have gotten a lot of ministry projects done. The list from this past year is quite long and we praise God that He used us to accomplish so many projects. However, my fear is that the projects we are doing are somewhat of “flashes in the pan.” They are great but they have a beginning and end. I believe there are a couple of reasons for this.
First, most of our projects have been pretty generic. Generic projects are good because everyone can be involved and they don’t require a special skill. The negative of this is that no one will ever be extremely passionate about the ministry project. We will do it because we understand our calling from Christ to be servants, but it won’t be something that we long to do.
Secondly, I believe that while ministry outside the church is extremely important and it is where we see Jesus doing a lot of His ministry, I do think that it is inside the body of Christ that we will find our passions and spiritual gifting’s. Think of the Church as somewhat of lab for believers to be poked, prodded, and discipled into understanding how they fit in the body of Christ.
JD Greear says “Burnout happens not because of the amount you give, but because you are trying to give out of places that God hasn’t gifted you.” What I believe that JD means by this quote is that God has uniquely gifted us to serve the body of Christ and this world in specific ways. Take for example Paul’s statement in 1 Corinthians 12:14 “For the body does not consist of one member but of many.” (Go back and read the whole chapter)
Just as a body functions with thousands of moving parts that are completely vital, the Church should function in the same way. The problem is, we don’t. So, let’s begin. In your D-group you are getting to know anywhere from 3-8 other people. You are getting to know their relationship with the Lord, their family life, their inner longings and desires, as well as their sin struggles and insecurities. So why not get to know what they are passionate about. What makes them tick? What do they love doing? What gives them great joy?
My caution here would be to make sure we go deeper than simply “I like to fish,” therefore, we go and begin a fishing ministry. I’m not saying that would be a bad idea but I think there we need to think harder about what in us makes us like to fish. God’s Word tells us that as believers, we have been gifted with the Holy Spirit, and He gives us unique gifts for the building up of the body (Ephesians 4).
So here is the bottom line, ministering in our giftedness will bring us joy and sanctification, it will bless others and build them up, and it will glorify God. So we must begin doing this. Now for the hard work. How has God gifted you to minister within the body of Christ as well as outside the body?
My encouragement would be to not only think about the different areas in the church to serve or the needs we have, but to think outside the box. Do some research, spend some time in prayer and ask God to reveal what you need to be doing in order to function in your giftedness.
I’ll end with a story. Recently a man joined a church. This church had a plethora of options when it came to serving. However, this man felt very passionate about giving a couple of hours a week to cleaning the church’s toilets. Even though he thought the church might not let him, he went and told leadership what he thought God had laid on his heart. To his surprise the leadership encouraged him and thanked him for sharing with them. They gave him a rundown of the areas that needed to be cleaned and showed him where the supplies were. They told him that he would be joining a team of 8 other church members who had also felt led to clean toilets each week. This man was blown away.
There is no ministry in the church or outside the church that is too small or insignificant. I’m praying that you will pass this on to your D-group and you would all begin to pray about how you could serve in your giftedness and passion.