Jesus in the 80s  “Every Believer a Minister” Believers Statesboro  05-14-17 Mother’s Day

It was during the 80s that Janet and I married, established careers, moved six times, had three children together, and learned a lot about the joy and the harsh realities of life as we became “responsible adults’.

  • I realized I needed the Resurrection Power of Jesus Christ!
  • We had to rise above the Scandals of the 80s…Beware of the Three G’s, Gold, Girls, Glory.
  • Janet and I were baptized in an Ocean Baptism, declaring we belonged to Christ Jesus.
  • In 1984, I realized that every man, woman, and child deserved, “Love, Acceptance, and Forgiveness”

In 1985, Janet, Marissa our 2-year-old, and I, moved from Oklahoma, back to Georgia.  I was working as a Landscape draftsman in Sea Island and preaching at a country church on the weekend (50 dollars a week to preach to about 50 people).  In order to be a good provider for my family, I went back to work for GPC.  I was at Plant Hatch briefly and then settled in at Plant Vogtle, for what I believed would be a short delay in my career as a Pastor.  I ended up staying there about 20 years.

As I meet new people and we shared our past experiences, they would find out that I used to be a full-time Pastor. They would often ask a question that really bothered and haunted me.

They would say, “So tell me, why did you leave the ministry?”

Did I leave the ministry?  Had I forsaken by calling for the sake of money?

Early one morning as I was traveling my normal long drive to Plant Vogtle past the hyperbolic cooling towers coming in and out of my view as I weaved down the hilly and curvy road.  I kept replaying that question in my head, “So why did you leave the ministry.”  As I had done many times before, I was wrestling with God in prayer and saying, “Lord is this what I have done, have I left the ministry?”

It was then, on this particular morning, that I felt the Holy Spirit saying, “No… you are still in the ministry, I’ve just given you a new assignment.  This is your mission field.  You are to minister the love of Jesus to the people you work with at Plant Vogtle.”

It was then that I began to live out and experience what my mom had taught me, what I had seen in the scriptures, and what I believed in my heart to be true, that every believer is called to be a minister.

I believed it then and I still believe very strongly today, that every Christian is called to be a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as well as to be an available vessel for the Holy Spirit to work through.

Therefore, no matter what your occupation or trade, be it a doctor, lawyer, nurse, farmer, peace officer, banker, baker, factory worker, teacher, or homemaker, you all serve a vital role in God’s redemptive plan for humanity.      We all work for Jesus.  He just has us assigned to different locations.

Created for Good Works

Paul tells us that not only are we saved by Christ Jesus, but that Christ also created us for a specific purpose. Ephesians 2:8-10 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. 

We Are A Royal Priesthood

1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

Throughout my childhood, and into adulthood, my mom modeled this for me.  She was always showing people the love of Jesus inside the church walls and outside the church walls.

As she encouraged me, on this Mother’s Day, I want to encourage you to begin to live like the ambassador for Christ that you are and to walk in the good works for which God created you.

Where do you do the “good works” God called you to do, the work of the Royal Priest?

As I mentioned before, in the 80s, I read a Jerry Cook book “Love, Acceptance, and Forgiveness” that changed my thinking and influenced my view of ministry.

The Bible uses a lot of agriculture examples and Jesus calls His followers to go into the fields and bring in a great harvest.  The question is, where is the field?

Jerry Cook points out that the church can exist in one of two states.  The church as a field or the church as a force. 

 

The Church as a Field

When the church is the field, all ministry, work, and energies go into the local church.

The church is the field where all ministry takes place.  Now there needs to be a lot of ministry going into the local church, but of all of the activities and energies are inverted, there will be very little time or energy left to reach outward to our lost and dying community.

The people in a field type church often realize that they may be called to do the work of ministry, so they tend to pool their money and they hired a “Full Time Minister” so he can do all the works of the ministry.”

So, you might have a church of 300-500 paying someone else to do the work of ministry for them.

But hey, why not?  It’s ok to pay someone else to cut your grass, clean your house, to buy or sell your home, to invest your money, to perform surgery on a loved one.  Trained professionals are helpful!

So, it stands to reason that we pay someone to do for us what they can do better than ourselves or what we don’t want to do.    Right?

But, there are some things that we can’t pay other people to do for us.

  • We can’t hire someone to love our spouse for us. (Date Night?)
  • We can’t hire someone to be the primary one responsible for teaching our children God’s ways.
  • We can’t hire someone to spend time with our family for us.

This is true for ministry.  We have all been called to be ministers of Christ, and it is a responsibility that we just can’t avoid, push off on others, or hire someone to do it for us.

I’m sure that at one time or another we have all found ourselves thinking, if not saying something like.

“I am saved, and I will faithfully attend church, but the work of the ministry is the pastor’s job!”

If someone needs salvation — call the pastor.    If someone needs prayer — call the pastor.

If someone needs healing — call the pastor.         If someone needs biblical understanding — call the pastor.

The Church as a Force 

On the other hand, when we realize that Jesus is teaching us the World is our field to work in, the church begins to function as a force, the ministry, work, and energies are focused outward.

When we all rise up to do the works of ministry, the world is our field and lives, homes, and communities are reached and touched by the life changing Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I want to be part of a church that is a force, not a farce, in our community, a church that makes a positive difference in people’s lives and effectively builds the Kingdom of God. 

EVERY BELIEVER A MINISTER 

The only way that a church can begin to be a force is for each of us to realize that “Every Believer is Called to be a Minister!

  • We will never be a force in this world if we believe the work of the ministry is only for the pastor.
  • If we don’t start seeing ourselves as a minister of the Love of Jesus, we will never have a part in seeing our community reached for Jesus. And sadly, we will never walk in the good works that God has created for us to do.

So why have a Pastor?

As your Pastor I am to minister the love of Jesus to a lost and dying world, right there beside you.

1 Corinthians 3:9 We are co-workers in God’s service…

We are co-labors in the field of the world, bringing in the harvest together.

Paul teaches us in Ephesians 4:11-12 that Jesus gives the church apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers for the equipping of the saints.  11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, (works of Ministry) so that the body of Christ may be built up…

Next Life Step:  Memorize Ephesians 4:11-12

So, not only am I to be a co-laborer with you, my primary job and responsibility to Equip You, God’s people, for works of service, to walk in your ministry.

This only makes good sense when you stop to think about it.

  • Humanly, one pastor can only get so much accomplished.  He may be very faithful and an extremely hard worker, but he will never be able to perform the work of two men.
  • Now instead of 300-500 people hiring one man, or one staff to do the works of ministry, wouldn’t it be better to equip, train and release 300 – 500 ministers into the field of the world, where Jesus said Himself, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.” (Matthew 9:37) 

Multi-Site Churches 

Multi-Site Churches are very popular right now.  That is to have a church meeting in multiple locations.  Many think, “If your church isn’t meeting in multiple sites, you’re just not cool or hip.”

Believers Church of Statesboro has had a multi-site church for a long time, way before it was cool.

Yes, we are a multi-site church and we have somewhere around 72,000 thousand attending our various campuses.

This week we will be holding services at:

The hospital, at various schools, in a principal’s office, a tire store, some doctor’s offices, at Viracon, at Great Dane,  at Walmart and Walmart Distribution Center, at Plant Vogtle, On GSU, and other colleges, in various departments and in the classes.  In a photography studio at Sack Company,  in board rooms, at all of the various law enforcement agencies, on buses, at Willingway, at Bites and other Restaurants,  at Food World,  in the cabs of trucks, In homes all across the country, and oh yes, we will be holding some services right here in this building too, at Believers Church, 6495 Harville Road location. And when we come to services here on Sundays and Wednesday Nights, or in our Life Groups, church will be our time of refreshing, training, equipping and encouragement.  As we gain new hope, and renewed vision, we will then go boldly right back into the world to do the works that Christ has called us to do.

Remember, you will go places that your pastor will never go.  You will meet people that I may never meet.  Someone must share the love of Jesus with those people… If not you, who will be salt and light in those places?

NEXT LIFE STEP:  This week…

  • Ask the Lord what He is calling you to do.
  • Ask Him to help you to begin to minister His love to others.
  • Begin to walk in the good works that He has prepared for you. 

Life App Group and Family Devotional Application

  1. What will happen when we are equipped, sent out, and released to minister?
  1. Explain the difference in a church as the field and a church as a force.
  1. What is the primary role of your pastor?
  1. How can you get equipped?
  1. What do you feel like God is calling you to do?

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