Every member in your church has gifts and talents God has given them to use as part of your congregation.
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever.
Leaders of our church are to equip God’s people to serve.
In Ephesians 4:11-12 God explains what the purpose of leaders in the church is, “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.”
Are you, your staff and your lay leaders servant leaders or are you or they in search of power and control? Does the attitude of “my church my way” dominate the way things are done at your church? Jesus resolved people’s physical, intellectual, relational, emotional and most importantly but not only their spiritual needs. He invested his life in people, in walking along- side them and teaching them. He knelt and washed feet, took all our sin and was sacrificed on the cross and we are to follow His beautiful example. So how are your leaders investing in others, meeting their needs, and sacrificing their power and control in order to help others be more like Christ?
Do you remember what Moses was doing that was contrary to God’s plan?
Exodus 18:13 The next day Moses took his seat to serve as judge for the people, and they stood around him from morning till evening. 14 When his father-in-law saw all that Moses was doing for the people, he said, “What is this you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit as judge, while all these people stand around you from morning till evening?”
15 Moses answered him, “Because the people come to me to seek God’s will. 16 Whenever they have a dispute, it is brought to me, and I decide between the parties and inform them of God’s decrees and instructions.”
17 Moses’ father-in-law replied, “What you are doing is not good. 18 You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone. 19 Listen now to me and I will give you some advice, and may God be with you. You must be the people’s representative before God and bring their disputes to him. 20 Teach them his decrees and instructions, and show them the way they are to live and how they are to behave. 21 But select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain—and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. 22 Have them serve as judges for the people at all times, but have them bring every difficult case to you; the simple cases they can decide themselves. That will make your load lighter, because they will share it with you. 23 If you do this and God so commands, you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied.”
24 Moses listened to his father-in-law and did everything he said.
Should leaders stand in the way to members serving?
In Romans 12:6-8 we read, “We all have different gifts, according to the grace given to us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.”
So how do you not “let him or her” use their gifts?
- By not providing a system or process for lay members to serve according to their God-given gifts
- By not helping people to discover their gifts and passions helping them to be Holy Spirit filled and self-motivated to live out their faith
- By stealing members’ opportunities to serve by not allowing a new idea to be considered or carried out by the lay members in your congregation.
- Leaders can hijack a members personal calling by taking over and controlling how it should be done verses helping them to see something that needs to be addressed on their own.
- By creating unnecessary frustration which causes people not to want to serve again.
So what can you do to change?
- Move from straight top down leadership to allowing bottom up grassroots leadership to develop as well
- Moving from “My Way” or “Your Way” to “Our Way”
- Are there times when a person is not qualified or prepared to serve in a particular ministry? Absolutely. But then ask how are you helping that individual to grow and mature and move toward that opportunity that God has placed on his or her heart?
What are the consequences to that individual if he or she is not empowered to serve?
In James 2: 14 – 17 “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”
- Have you conditioned people to believe that being a Christian is sitting in the pew one hour a week watching the pastor do his ministry?
What are the consequences to your church?
If Christians aren’t empowered to serve within your church they will find other places to serve and put their faith into action. Or they will stay in their infant stages and just go to church to receive and not to also pour forth the love of Jesus into others.
“Now you are the body of Christ and EACH ONE of you is a part of it.” 1 Corinthians 12:27
Is the leadership at your church stifling ministry by controlling verses empowering? Is this a possible reason for declining attendance and church membership? You may say we can’t get anyone to do anything. The question is do you need to change the culture, behavior and attitudes of leadership in order to see God’s design for the church to be upheld?