Sunday, September 19, 2010
Last week I challenged all of us at Calvary East to select two people from our church family to pray for regularly throughout the fall. This challenge wasn’t a random idea. It flows from a core conviction I have about ministry and spiritual growth.
Often when we think of ministry, we think of some organized church program—a Bible study, class, small group, or special event. We think of the leader as the one doing the ministry, and everyone else as the recipients. But that’s not the biblical concept of ministry.
In Ephesians 4:12, Paul tells us that the goal of church leaders is to equip the saints [i.e., everyone in the church] for the work of ministry or service.
So what kind of service does God want all of us to do? In Ephesians 4:13 Paul explains that our service should lead people to greater faith, knowledge, and spiritual maturity. But how do you accomplish this?
Prayer is a great place to start. Even when you don’t really know a person, you can still serve them by praying for their spiritual growth as we saw last week in Ephesians 3:14-19.
As you get to know someone over time, your ministry to them can deepen. Through prayer and encouragement we can help bear one another’s burdens (Gal 6:2).
You may doubt your ability to serve other people this way, but Paul’s words to the Romans answers our concerns. He said, “I myself also am convinced that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able also to admonish one another” (Rom 15:14 NASB).
I think there’s one simple barrier that keeps many Christians from serving this way. We simply fail to take initiative. We can offer countless reasons to justify our passivity, but the truth of the matter is that when we do not serve one another this way, we deprive others and hinder our own spiritual growth.
Don’t miss out on the blessings God has for us as we take the initiative to care and pray for one another.
– Bryan Craddock