Last week we explored how we’re all members of the body of Christ, and that we all have our parts to play within it. Let’s take one more look at that idea before moving forward today.
Think about a time your physical body wasn’t healthy—for example, you had a major illness, or you broke a bone (or several). What “normal” things couldn’t you do during that time, or do without someone’s help? How did your illness/injury affect others and their “normal” routines?
Now, let’s kick it spiritually:
“On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it” (1 Corinthians 12:22-27, NIV).
• When have you seen a church or ministry rally around and “pick up” someone who was hurting—physically or any other way?
• How did that experience affect that person? your church/ministry? you?
So far, we’ve talked about leadership in broader terms—that is, not only church but other venues where we lead or are led. Now, let’s sharpen our focus and explore what a healthy ministry looks like, and how the ministries you’re in can function. Maybe you’re leading a ministry right now, maybe not, but let’s go on the assumption you’re involved somewhere right now. Wherever and however you’re involved, you want your team and your ministry to be healthy and working together. When that happens, the effects can reach far beyond your team and your ministry.
Conversely, when one part of your team suffers or isn’t functioning correctly, everyone’s affected. But God can use that to do something even more powerful. We’re never in this alone, and no matter how much responsibility does or doesn’t fall to us, we can always play a part in helping others on our team get stronger—or to help them until they get stronger.
Think about these questions (and if you like, refer to passages like 2 Corinthians 6:3-13, Ephesians 4:14-16, Philippians 1:29–2:18, and Colossians 3:12-17):
• What does it take to serve alongside others—particularly, other Christians? What does it look like, in practice?
• What comes easiest to you? hardest? Why?
• Putting all this together, what does a healthy ministry or team look like? Try to come up with a concise one- or two-sentence answer.
In his book The Crucifixion of Ministry, Andrew Purves states, “The test case for ministry is that Jesus present by His Spirit shows up and does something only God can do…. The danger for us and especially for our parishioners comes when we insist on displacing the ministry of Jesus with our own ministries. When that happens, our ministries must be crucified.”
That’s a tall order, and a true one. So here’s a couple more questions to chew on:
• What’s the connection between trusting God and trusting those you serve God with?
• How can you make those connections even stronger in the days to come?
Think about this idea next time your ministry gathers together, and do with it what you will: Re-read Colossians 3:16, and worship together, with or without instruments. Whatever kind of worship music fits your group, join together and sing it. Build up one another’s spirits with your voices.
When you’re done, thank God again for the people he’s put you with—both here and elsewhere. Pray for the ministries you’re all currently involved in, and ask God to give each of you the wisdom to see how you can help make the ministries and the teams you’re serving God with even stronger. And may God answer your prayers beyond what you can conceive.