“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10 ESV).
The church is the body of Christ, and the Lord has placed each of us in his body according to his sovereign design. Think of it like God arranging the parts of the human body. In a healthy body, everything is arranged as it was designed and everything functions as it was intended. The result is that the body does what the body is supposed to do. What is true for the human body is also true for the body of Christ – the church. God places us in his body according to his design, and he expects us to do the work of ministry.
I believe that we each receive specific ministry assignments. These might include things like Bible teaching, working with children, singing in the choir, playing an instrument, etc. But there are also some things that every Christian is called to do. As a member of the church you are a part of the body and you are expected to do the work.
Do the work of prayer.
The Scripture tells us to “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17 ESV). Sometimes we think of prayer as the thing that we do before we do the work of ministry, or while we do the work of ministry, or after we do the work of ministry. Prayer is not what we do before, during or after. Prayer is the ministry. It is the most foundational work of ministry that we can perform.
Do the work of evangelism.
Jesus said, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19 ESV). Some people are called and gifted to be evangelists. I think of Billy Graham, Billy Sunday and others throughout history. You may not be called to the office of evangelist, but every believer is called to the ministry of evangelism. Every follower of Jesus is called to share gospel conversations with family, co-workers or schoolmates, friends, and community neighbors.
Do the work of giving.
Jesus reminded us of the intricate connection between our heart and our treasure. Maybe that’s why Paul told the Corinthians, “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7 ESV). In too many churches a large portion of the income is given by a small number of people. The Pareto Principle comes to mind – 80% of the money is given by 20% of the people. We are each called to do the work of giving, and to do it cheerfully.
Do the work of encouragement.
Hebrews 10:24 instructs us, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works” (ESV). I’ve known plenty of church members through the years who considered how to stir up one another (insert smile here), but this verse speaks to encouragement. Sending a text message to let someone know you are thinking about them and praying for them. Making a phone call. Sharing a meal. The way that we do the work of encouragement is not as important as the necessity of doing the work of encouragement.
Do the work of attendance.
The writer of Hebrews links the work of attendance with the work of encouragement. The very next verse reads, “Not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:25 ESV). Being in church is good for you, and it’s good for others. I was thinking about some of the churches I have served. In one church, we had over a thousand members, but we averaged 250 in weekly attendance. Another church had close to 1,500 members with an average weekly attendance of 600. Attendance should be important.
Do the work of singing.
This is not a call for everyone to join the choir or the worship team. It is a reminder to “Sing praise to him, sing praises to him; tell of all of his wondrous works!” (1 Chronicles 16:9 ESV). Our God is mighty. He is worthy to be praised.
As I think about these six areas of ministry that we are each called to perform, I am reminded of dozens and dozens of church members in the places where I have served. I see their faces. I hear their voices. And I thank God for them.
Let me hear from you. What would you add to this list?