Tuesday, May 06, 2008

be the Body

Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant...Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

1 Corinthians 12:1,27

What is church? This is a question I have been mulling over as we have studied Spiritual Gifts, and have been meeting to talk about a "next generation" ministry. An important question.

Pastor Mark has been talking about a new "next generation" church service, and what we want it to be...not just great music, but to encounter the presence of God...not just good teaching, to but to hear the voice of God...not just a chance to sit around with friend and eat free bagels and sip coffee, but to experience true fellowship of believers. And that's great. Love that. But is that it? Do we then go home to our own lives and come back next week?

A church is about not only salvation, but the process of sanctification. How do we facilitate that? Yes, there must be more.

It takes more than a teacher and a musician, even more than nursery workers and people with a hospitality gift. It takes a whole body. That is what Paul is talking about here.

People need to be shepherded. They need to be encouraged, they need to be shown mercy. They need hospitality during the week, as well as on Sunday. They need all the spiritual gifts. They need each other, because no one person, even a great pastor, can possibly be all we need. Until we all are called out and encouraged and empowered to become part of the church and its functioning body, we cannot fulfill our mission as Christ has given it to us.

Yes, we are all not yet fit for ministry. But is anyone ever really fit? I mean, really? We need to be educated, but we also need to be anointed. The anointing of the Spirit is not something we can read about and learn. It is a miraculous gift from the Spirit we cannot control.

We make the mistake of separating the ministry into the lay people and the "called."

I am sorry, but if you are saved, this is the deal....that was the call! All saints are called. We are not only called out of our sins, we are called to serve, and until we get that, our church body will be missing limbs, organs, important stuff.

It is not about Sunday, it's about every day. It's not about the leaders, it is about we all get to minister, to be part of a team. We all need to get out of our seats, stop being the audience and start finding our places.

The church is a body.

14Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. 15If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 16And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 17If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19If they were all one part, where would the body be?

20As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

21The eye cannot say to the hand, "I don't need you!" And the head cannot say to the feet, "I don't need you!" 22On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

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