"EQUIPPING THE SAINTS FOR MINISTRY" Areas Of Service In The Body INTRODUCTION 1. In our previous lesson we noticed the following truths about body of Christ... a. The body of Christ has many members - cf. 1Co 12:12,14 b. Not all members have the same function - cf. Ro 12:4,6a c. Every function is crucial to the operation of the body
- cf. 1Co 12:21-22; Ep 4:15-16 2. Therefore the challenges we face are these... a. To be aware of the different ways that members can serve in the body b. To encourage members to develop those functions that best suit their abilities and opportunities to serve c. To provide direction and opportunity for those willing and prepared to serve in their different functions 3. In an effort to meet the first challenge, in this study we will... a. Summarize the four basic areas of service in the body of Christ b. Provide examples of roles that people can fulfill within each basic area of service [Let's begin with an area of service in the body that is evident every time we assemble...] I. THE AREA OF "PUBLIC WORSHIP" A. PUBLIC WORSHIP AS AN AREA OF SERVICE IN THE BODY OF CHRIST... 1. We are commanded not to forsake our assembling together, for therein we can exhort one another to love and good works
- He 10:24-25 2. There are certain commands that we can keep only in the context of our coming together a. The command to observe the Lord's Supper - 1Co 11:20-34 b. The command to lay by in store - 1Co 16:1-2 3. We have an example of the early Christians meeting on the first day of the week to carry out such commands - cf. Ac 20:7 4. Guidelines for our assemblies have been given... a. "Let all things be done for edification" - 1Co 14:26 b. "Let all things be done decently and in order" - 1Co 14:40 B. SAMPLE "ROLES" IN THE AREA OF PUBLIC WORSHIP... 1. Those that direct the congregation in its worship... a. Making announcements b. Leading singing c. Leading prayer d. Reading Scriptures e. Assisting in the Lord's Supper (Communion), and the Collection (Offering) f. Offering short exhortations or invitations g. Preaching sermons 2. Other roles that expedite the public worship... a. Serving as ushers b. Taking attendance c. Preparing the communion d. Taping the service (either video or audio) [Perhaps you can think of other roles that fall into the framework of the public worship. But these should suffice to illustrate that there is room for service by people with varying abilities. Let's now consider...] II. THE AREA OF "EDIFICATION" A. EDIFICATION AS AN AREA OF SERVICE IN THE BODY OF CHRIST... 1. Edification, or building up the body of Christ, is a major function in the work of the church - cf. Ep 4:11-16 2. Much of our edification takes place in the public worship, but there other avenues as well a. Congregational Bible study classes (Sunday morning and midweek classes) b. Home Bible studies c. Monthly or weekly bulletins B. SAMPLE "ROLES" IN THE AREA OF EDIFICATION... 1. As part of the congregation's teaching curriculum a. Teach adult classes b. Teach children's classes (1-4 yrs, K-12th grade, college) c. Teach special classes (ladies, singles, young marrieds, seniors) d. Produce a church bulletin 2. As part of the congregation's follow-up program a. Conduct home Bible studies with new converts or new members b. Provide child care for those involved in home Bible studies 3. And let's not forget these two most important roles... a. Elders (also known as bishops, pastors)
- Ac 20:17,28; 1Pe 5:1-2; 1Ti 3:1-7 b. Deacons (servants qualified and duly appointed to assist the elders-bishops-pastors) - Php 1:1; 1Ti 3:8-13 [Again, this is just a sampling to illustrate there are many and diverse ways we can serve in the body of Christ. Of course, there is also..] III. THE AREA OF "EVANGELISM" A. EVANGELISM AS AN AREA OF SERVICE IN THE BODY OF CHRIST... 1. Sharing the good news of Jesus Christ goes back to the "Great Commission" our Lord gave His disciples - cf. Mt 28:18-20; Mk 16:15-16 2. It is certainly an important function of the body of Christ - cf. 1Pe 2:9-10 3. A work that can be done by individuals, it can also be supported by local congregations - cf. Php 1:3-5; 4:15-16;2Co 11:7-9 B. SAMPLE "ROLES" IN THE AREA OF EVANGELISM... 1. Write letters to visitors 2. Pay courtesy visit to visitors 3. Mail or hand out tracts, cards, flyers 4. Grade Bible correspondence courses 5. Conduct home Bible studies with prospects 6. Invite friends and neighbors to services, or to a home Bible study where someone else will do the teaching 7. Assist with baptisms (very helpful when they occur at all hours of the day) 8. Provide child care for those involved with home Bible studies 9. Travel to foreign countries, or support those who do [There is a lot that can be done in the area of evangelism, no matter what one's ability may be at the present. But to public worship, edification, and evangelism, we can add yet another area of service...] IV. THE AREA OF "BENEVOLENCE" A. BENEVOLENCE AS AN AREA OF SERVICE IN THE BODY OF CHRIST... 1. The early church was noted for their love and support for one another a. In times of great need they were willing to go to great extremes - Ac 2:44-45; 4:32-35 b. When they heard of their brothers' need in other places, they were quick to respond - Ac 11:27-30; Ro 15:25-26; 2Co 8:1-5 2. As a function of the local church, it is apparent that such benevolence was limited in scope a. Every example of congregational benevolent activity was only to needy saints b. Even then there were limitations placed upon who the church was to support - 1Ti 5:3-16 3. But as individuals, Christians are expected to be benevolent toward all, whether believers or non-believers - cf. Ga 6:10; Jm 1:27 B. SAMPLE "ROLES" IN THE AREA OF BENEVOLENCE... PLEASE NOTE: Several of the roles listed below properly fall into the area of individual responsibility rather than the work of the local church. But since it is the work of the church to provide "for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry" (Ep 4:12), I think it proper for the elders "to stir up love and good works" (He 10:24) and even provide some coordination of those activities we carry out as individual Christians (such as many churches do in providing for flowers on special occasions). 1. Toward the sick and shut-ins a. Visit and care for the sick at the hospital b. Visit and care for the sick at their homes c. Visit and care for those confined to their homes d. Telephone those sick and confined on a daily basis e. Provide transportation to doctors, pharmacies, food stores 2. Toward the needy a. Prepare clothes b. Prepare food c. Provide emergency shelter d. Provide emergency child care e. Provide emergency financial assistance f. Provide transportation to services, stores 3. Miscellaneous a. Prepare meals for the sick, bereaved, new mothers b. Provide flowers for special occasions (e.g., sickness, funerals) CONCLUSION 1. The list could go on and on, especially when we seek to list things that go beyond the work of the local congregation and into the area of individual responsibility; for example... a. Arranging activities for young people b. Arranging social activities for members c. Minor repair work (painting, carpentry) d. Cleaning the building, landscaping, maintaining the baptistery 2. My purpose has been to illustrate... a. That there are many different ways to serve when you consider the different areas of service in the Lord's body: public worship, edification, evangelism, and benevolence b. That even on an individual basis (i.e., not really a work of the congregation per se) there are things to be done that can contribute to the edifying of the body of Christ c. That no matter how large a congregation can become, there are plenty of roles for the members to fulfill 3. Again, the challenges we face in "Equipping The Saints For Ministry" are these... a. To be aware of the different ways that members can serve in the body b. To encourage members to develop those functions that best suit their abilities and opportunities to serve c. To provide direction and opportunity for those willing and prepared to serve in their different functions 4. With this lesson I have sought to meet the first challenge, our
next lesson will seek to address the remaining two In the meantime, I hope you will be giving prayerful consideration as to how you are functioning as a member of the body of Christ...