I am honored to lead the Resources Division at LifeWay and serve with a team of leaders who are passionate to serve the Church in her mission of making disciples. Each Wednesday, I share the heart behind one of the resources our team has developed and give an opportunity for you to register to win a free copy of the resource. This week’s resource is a new Bible study for women on 2 Corinthians, All Things New, from Kelly Minter. Our Adult Ministry helped with this post.
Churches must help people embrace the truth that all members of the body of Christ are ministers. Not just the preachers, but also the professors, poets, plumbers, and physicians. Too often we serve churches full of people content to let pastors and staff do the work of ministry. Sometimes we contribute to that dysfunction. Instead of encouraging and equipping our members, we do it ourselves. And one thing that is often true in ministry, if you want to try and do it by yourself, they’ll let you. But flying solo in ministry usually leads to a short flight that ends with a crash landing. So we must be about the task assigned to us—the task of training the saints in the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ (Eph. 4:12).
So how do we help the folks in our church embrace the calling to be the hands and feet of Jesus? First, understand where they are. Most of our members are not sitting in the pew with their arms crossed refusing to serve. For many, their response is not “I won’t!” but “I can’t.” They’re paralyzed not by hard-heartedness but by feelings of incompetence, inadequacy, and disqualification. To help overcome this, we need to remind them of some truths found in 2 Corinthians:
1. We are competent in Christ.
Paul made this clear: “It is not that we are competent in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our competence is from God. He has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant” (2 Cor. 3:5-6). It’s not our talent, charisma, or dynamic personality that makes us effective in ministry. It’s the power of Christ in us. And ALL of us who know Christ have that power through the Holy Spirit.
2. We are changed by Christ.
Some believers want to point to a past mistake or a sinful season that renders them useless in the kingdom. Their thought is “How can God use me after I’ve…” But again, Paul’s word to the Corinthians is clear: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come” (2 Cor. 5:17). Our slates have been washed clean by the blood of Christ. We have a new nature and a new direction.
3. We are strengthened by Christ.
All of us are weak vessels. In fact, early in 2 Corinthians, Paul stated that “we have this treasure in clay jars, so that this extraordinary power may be from God and not from us” (2 Cor. 4:7). We’re fragile and weak, but God has empowered us. And even in that specific weakness, burden, pain, or difficulty, the Lord’s grace is sufficient, for His “power is perfected in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9).
4. We are compelled by Christ.
We need to remind our people that what we are called to is a holy, eternal mission. And when we truly grasp the depth of His love for us, we will be compelled to love others and share the message of reconciliation that He has entrusted to us. As ambassadors of Christ, we have the best news a lost world can hear—”He made the One who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21).
The ministry given to us is a shared one. As a leader, embrace the calling to lead your people to be on mission instead of shouldering the burden to do it alone.