Weekly Feature



2016-01-27 / Police Blotter

Clergy Column

For church to function, each person has ministry
REV. ALDEN SNELL
Baptist Minister living in Clarence

Throughout history, humans have been fascinated by the way in which different parts of our body cooperate. Our body consists of many individual parts working in essential unity. A healthy human body needs all its parts to be functioning so we may feel good. When a part of our body is hurting, be it minimal or extensive, the rest of your body has a reaction to that pain. In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, we find he compares the unity of the church with the unity of the human body.

It is Paul’s belief that a church congregation, like a human body, needs for all its many members to be functioning together in doing God’s ministry. The head of the church is Christ Jesus. Paul sees the nature of the church to be one unit with many parts. We recognize in faith that the universal church is formed by many congregations. In these many congregations with their many members, we can find there is to be unity and diversity. The nature of our spiritual unity is to transcend any distinction we may believe to exist among members. If we all have the one spirit in Christ Jesus, then we endeavor to live with no racial, cultural or social distinction.

Paul says our unity comes through God giving to all of his people the Holy Spirit. Our various spiritual gifts as a Christian enable our lives to overflow with the fruits of the Spirit. Paul felt that no spiritual gifts are inferior or unimportant to others. For the church to fully function, each person has a specific ministry that he or she alone is asked by God to do in Christ’s name. Our God has arranged the parts of the human body and the members of the church to be as he wants them to be. Could we lead a ministry if we all wanted to be leaders and believe we didn’t have to do any following? Paul wishes us to remember that diversity in the church is not an accidental attribute of the body. It is the very essence of unity. A living church has many people serving as one body, a church for Christ Jesus. Within the congregation, the members choose activities, groups and fellowships to be a participant in fulfilling God’s ministry. Each believer needs to find out what our own spiritual gifts are for the Lord. We then need to ask God to help us to use them for ministry in ways that may be new or may be familiar. Indeed, let us remember that the position in the church of each individual and one’s possession of this or that gift has been ordered by God.

We are encouraged to honor one another for the ministry that we each do. For when one member suffers in his or her desire to do a specific ministry, the whole ministry of the church suffers in its effectiveness to be the living body of Christ Jesus in our world. We can all celebrate when together we encourage one another to use our feet to go where Christ’s message needs to be heard. Let us encourage one another as we serve as Christ’s voice in the community we live in. May we encourage one another as we see needs in the lives of others and act to help them meet their needs.

Jesus declared to us that as a Christian, “you are to do for others as you would have them do for you.” There is no individualistic nature to being a Christian in the church with little regard for other Christians. We are each a part of the body of Christ in the church. We gather as a congregation to be seen by the world as members of Christ’s church.

Remember, my friends, that each and every one of us is necessary and indispensable to God. May we live daily as members of the body of Christ, the church universal.

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