Fourth Sunday of Easter
Our Savior Lutheran Church
Pagosa Springs, Colorado
April 28, 1996
(Imagine you have just boarded an airliner bound for Dallas...Today the flight attendant will serve as the pilot, baggage crew manager for the navagator and the pilot for the flight attendant. How would you feel about the announcement?...)
DIVERSITY IN CONGREGATIONAL MINISTRY IS CRITICAL TO KINGDOM GROWTH.
To each person a part of the mission is given.
Ministry = diakonos...service...a servant...to assist.
Now a pastor is a servant, but all Christians are servants of Christ in His Church.
A servant is one who serves the needs of others...A sacred duty to God given in the interest of His people.
We publicly install pastors, teachers, and Church Council members for their service on behalf of the congregation, but that does not excuse the personal involvement of others in the church.
All of us are servants of Christ and our service gives testimony to our Master. (Rom. 6:22-23)
Service is done in the name of Christ, by people who have been called to faith.
Service is done by the power of Christ working in us through the Holy Spirit...God always gets the credit for faith and for faithful service.
Unless each of us shares in the mission of the Church, we shall be hindered in that mission.
Listen to the problem of the early Church in Jerusalem. (Acts 6:1-4)
The ministry of the Church flows out of the Pastoral office of proclaiming the Word of God and administering the Sacraments in accord with Christ's institution.
Unless that is done, there is no spiritual equipping of God's people for spiritual service.
In Jerusalem, the ministry of Word and Sacrament was beginning to take a back seat to the other work of the congregation.
Without the power of Word and Sacrament ministry:
It will not matter if we feed the hungry.
Without the Gospel message of Christ crucified and risen, there is no point in doing anything for then life is hopeless!
Lay leadership is the key to fully functional, dynamic congregational life and ministry.
Lay leaders must be spiritual people in order to be qualified to lead.
All church decisions must be grounded on the Word of God and mission of the congregation.
If only a few bear the load for the many, they will most certainly wear out!
All of us need to be at prayer for the mission and ministry of Our Savior, and for the needs of people.
All need to share in the financial burden of the ministry...not just the few families who provide 80% of the resources.
All us of need to see ourselves as witnesses to the Gospel...not just the pastor.
All need to be involved in caring for the buildings and grounds of our congregation...for the purpose of drawing people to the opportunity to hear the Gospel.
We need flight engineers, pilots, navigators, flight attendants and baggage crews for the good ship Our Savior...We need everybody!
DIVERSITY IN MINISTRY PERMITS EACH OF US TO USE THE STRENGTHS WE HAVE RECEIVED FROM GOD.
It was simply wrong for the apostles to wait on tables because they were especially equipped to do other work.
They would have been majoring in "minors".
This was poor stewardship of the gifts they had received and the ministry to which they had been called.
In the same way, we need to intentionally mobilize for effective ministry by using the strengths God has given to each of us.
Praise God that many of us are serving well and appropriately!
But think of what the Lord could do with us if we all did what we could for Him...What impact could we have on Pagosa Springs?
Look around you, much needs to be done from the magnificient to the mundane, and all of it is important!
Why wait to be asked?...Offer yourselves!
Why be reticent to serve?...God has given you the ability.
THE RESULT OF A BALANCED AND SHARED MINISTRY IS THE INCREASED GROWTH OF GOD'S KINGDOM.
Look what happened to the congregation in Jerusalem!
After square pegs were put into square holes and round pegs into round holes, what God intended to happen began to occur.
Acts 6:7 - "The Word of God spread and the number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly."
New followers were added in great numbers.
Even the former enemies of Christ, the Jewish priests were transformed both by the Gospel that was preached and by the Gospel that was lived!
It doesn't need to be any different here at Our Savior!
We have been purchased from sin and death by Christ...that ought to make a huge difference in the priorities of our lives.
Christ's death and resurrection isn't merely a theological concept... it is the vital focus of life every day!
It is the cause of all that gives meaning to our daily activities.
We are a "TEAM", not a one man show, working together for Christ's Kingdom!
Empowered by the Word and Sacaments, driven by the love of God, forgiven by our gracious and living Lord, we can be what God intends us to be... a force which can and will turn this community on it's ear for HIM!
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