One Church, Many Ministers

How many ministers are in your church?  How many ministers does your church have? Go ahead, count them in your mind. There’ s the Senior pastor (one), and maybe you have an associate pastor (that’s two). Let’s not forget the deacons, they count as ministers, right? Sure, I’ll admit, these people minister to GOD’s people. They are not the only people in your church called to be a minister, however.

When I asked how many ministers your church has, did you count yourself in that number? I hope so. We all are called to minister to those around us in some capacity. The question is what are you called to do, not are you called. The church that relies on the pastor as the sole minister ( or even includes the other “pros”) and does not rise up to also minister is not following GOD’s call to the church. More than that, they run the risk of having a senior pastor, associate pastors, and other church leaders that become burned out.

I would like to point out a few concepts that we as pastors, deacons, and lay people should understand about GOD’s calling on the church as far as ministry is concerned.

1. Ministry in the Church must be delegated or the whole of the church, pastors and lay people alike, will become worn out.

Let’s take a look at Moses and the Israelites

Exodus 18: 13-26
13 The next day Moses sat to judge the people, and the people stood around Moses from morning till evening.
14 When Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he was doing for the people, he said, “What is this that you are doing for the people? Why do you sit alone, and all the people stand around you from morning till evening?”
15 And Moses said to his father-in-law, “Because the people come to me to inquire of God;
16 when they have a dispute, they come to me and I decide between one person and another, and I make them know the statutes of God and his laws.”
17 Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “What you are doing is not good.
18 You and the people with you will certainly wear yourselves out, for the thing is too heavy for you. You are not able to do it alone.
19 Now obey my voice; I will give you advice, and God be with you! You shall represent the people before God and bring their cases to God,
20 and you shall warn them about the statutes and the laws, and make them know the way in which they must walk and what they must do.
21 Moreover, look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe, and place such men over the people as chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens.
22 And let them judge the people at all times. Every great matter they shall bring to you, but any small matter they shall decide themselves. So it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you.
23 If you do this, God will direct you, you will be able to endure, and all this people also will go to their place in peace.”
24 So Moses listened to the voice of his father-in-law and did all that he had said.
25 Moses chose able men out of all Israel and made them heads over the people, chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens.
26 And they judged the people at all times. Any hard case they brought to Moses, but any small matter they decided themselves.

Moses was called to lead his people. This we know, and he knew it too. However, he was trying to do all the work on his own. This was a heavy burden for a single man to carry– “13…the people stood around Moses from morning till evening.” Changes had to be made or Moses, as well as the people, would be overwhelmed. There was no way for one man to meet all the needs of so many. (Exodus 18:18)

This, I’m sure, would lead to frustration for Moses, who wanted lead his people as GOD had called him to do. You can be SURE that the people got frustrated with Moses. If you doubt this, remember that just one chapter prior to this they were arguing with him and complaining, so much so that Moses cried out to GOD over it. “They are almost ready to stone me!,” he cried. (Exodus 17: 2-4)

Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, had come to see what GOD was doing with these people and Moses. When he saw the burden that Moses had taken on he said, “What you are doing is not good…You are not able to do it alone. (Exodus 18:17-18)
In the following verses Jethro explains to Moses how to delegate the work to ease the burden and satisfy the people. Moses then picked “honest, trustworthy men who feared GOD” (vs.21) to work with groups of “thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens.”(vs.21) This was a good choice, one that would allow him to “endure” the ministry set before him and impart “peace” to the people.(vs.23) Even Jesus picked disciples and delegated works for them to do in the work of his ministry; though I suspect this was more to teach, rather than out of need. (see one example in John 4:2)

Just as an added aside, notice in these verses that the “Pastor” (Moses) took the wise counsel of a trusted friend that loved The Lord. (vs. 17, 24) I hope that all people in leadership are able to find a confidant, a wise and trusted friend that can be trusted to say the hards things when they must be said. For that matter, I hope that for us all.(Proverbs 20:18)

2. All Christians are called to ministry.

AH HA! We laypeople are off the hook then. This was clearly a situation that set overseers over the people. Sure, that is what it did, but we are not off the hook. We are called by GOD to be ministers also.

1 Thessalonians 5: 11
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

1 Thessalonians 5:14
And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.

Matthew 25: 35-40 Christ calls his people to minister

35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,
36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’
37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?
38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?
39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

Ephesians 2:10
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

We must minister to each other, to the sick, the poor, to the leadership above us, to everyone, all the while pointing to Christ, because it is through him for him that we labor. (Romans 11:36, Matthew 25:40, Colossians 3:23) We are not all called to be deacons or pastors or to have an “official” church position, but we are called to build up the body of Christ. We do this through and for Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 11:36) who’s spirit lives in us and who has called the leaders of the church to seek GOD’s face (Exodus18:19) make the big decisions (Exodus 18:22), and to equip his people for ministry.

Ephesians 4: 11-14

11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers,
12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,
13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,
14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.

In Review:

1. Ministry in the Church must be delegated or the whole of the church, pastors and lay people alike, will become worn out.

a. Also, pastors should seek out wise counsel.

2. All Christians are called to ministry.

a. When we minister to others, we minister to Christ himself.
b. This work is done through and for Christ
c. GOD has called the leaders of the leaders of the church to equip the laypeople for   ministry.

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2 Comments

  1. To fulfill the five (5) purposes of a call, a wise pastor must identify, encourage and tutor many others who will complement his work in the areas of those other ministers’ gifting. That is the only way to have a balanced, healthy church. One can only wonder what would have happened had Moses not heeded the counsel of Jethro! Nice blog. Thanks!

    1. Thanks for commenting salvation house. I’m glad use the word healthy. It’s a good picture of our church should be. We are alive and we should nurture the church and do the things that we ought so that we remain healthy and grow and prosper. God has put at our disposal all that we need to live lives of righteousness and to do the works that he predestined us to do. We simply need to pray and seek God’s wisdom so that we know and understand what he has prepared For to do individually; this will allow for us to do what God wants the church to do corporately.

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