Seeds of Promise Series by Shenica Graham
Maximizing Ministry Part VII
Twelve Body Builders for Christian Ministries
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Christian community is people coming together about a common unity: fellowship with Christ. How to build and maintain the community is an important topic for maximizing ministry because serving God is more powerful where two or three (or more) are gathered together of one accord (Matthew 18:20).
Here are Twelve Body Builders for Christian Ministries:
Acceptance – “And Peter opened his mouth and said: Most certainly and thoroughly I now perceive and understand that God shows no partiality and is no respecter of persons,” (Acts 10:34). God does not say to a rich man, sit here in a good place, and to a poor man, take this stool in the back of the room; nor does he differentiate between Black, Caucasian, Hispanic, Asian, or any other race. Christian community should be the ultimate community – where all people are valued, similarities are sought out, and differences are respected.
Authority – Jesus received His authority directly from the Godhead. Christian communities led by the will of God receive authority from that followship, as long it is maintained – and it must be so – otherwise, the community will sour outside of God’s will. In most cases, the authority is a direct extension of the great commission: “Go then and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them [a]into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” (Matthew 28:19). The community should have bylaws or other organizing charter to clarify for all leadership and members, what the role of the community will be and how that role will be carried out.
Bible – The Word brings Christians together. People may read different translations, but the Bible is the most read book of all time. A study group focused on the Bible is a great way to build a Bible-based community. Each person who studies (II Timothy 2:15) helps to sharpen the knowledge of others (Proverbs 27:17) in the group so that all rise in knowing together. Read Maximizing Ministry Part I: Maximize Your Bible Study.
Caring – “rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep” Romans 12:15. Show empathy and compassion for the concerns and situations of others. Learn to distinguish times when your listening ear is needed rather than your opinion.
Christ – The most important role of Christian communities is to share the good news of salvation through Christ (John 3:16). Trying to live in an evil world without God is like adding weights to a heavy burden. But Jesus is a strong tower. He is strong and mighty. The community is to help members cast learn what it means to cast their cares upon Christ because He cares for them (I Peter 5:7).
Communication – Jesus talked with His disciples often. The role of communication was different depending on the situation. It sometimes to inform, sometimes to warn them of danger, sometimes to encourage them, and sometimes to teach them valuable lessons. Communication is food for the faith body: without it, the body will not grow. Our demeanor, how we carry ourselves, the words we speak and even our posture communicates messages to others. Read Maximizing Ministry Part V, Twelve C’s of Communication for Ministry Leaders.
Faith – We know that without faith it is impossible to please God. But how do we increase the faith of body? By sharing of testimony – from the Word, and from others in the community. This is one way that the community draws strength from itself to overcome the world (Revelation 12:11).
Forgiveness – People need to find the forgiveness that Christ came to bring. Christian communities are to exemplify that forgiveness (Matthew 6:14-15) through teaching and action. The community should help educate members that the forgiveness of Christ is not a license to sin, but rather an opportunity to be renewed and an exhortation to sin no more (John 8:11).
Love – Without love, you may as well pack up the community tools and go solo. Without love, there is no glue – no fusion, to hold to community together. Money is not strong enough to keep the community together. Money runs out at times, or someone may have more or less of it than another person and jealousy may sprout its ugly roots. Positions and possessions and any other tangible thing is not good enough to keep the community strong. You simply must build it on love for the people as found in I Corinthians 13.
Prayer – Time, not any tangible thing, is your most valuable asset. This is as true for the community as a whole, as it is for each person in the community. For this reason, teaching the necessity of a prayer habit for both individuals and the group is important. Read Maximizing Ministry Part III: Prayer.
Service & Outreach – Community service takes a dual role in a faith community. Service could be to persons within the community, and the community itself could serve others who are not members. Service includes meeting the needs of the people. Those needs could be physical or tangible such as food, shelter and health care and clothing, or emotional and intangible such as friendship, counseling and connection to valuable resources. Service becomes Christian outreach when you add the element of sharing the Good news of salvation. The reason you combine the two is because of the example of Jesus, who also fed the hungry, lest they would have starved in their natural bodies – though they followed after him and heard his preaching (Matthew 15:32).
Social Networking – Social networking is the new “grape vine.” Millions of people utilize social networking today to organize their contacts and stay in touch with friends, family and colleagues. Some churches even encourage “tweeting” or posting brief status updates during services. Some sites provide a “check-in service that allows users to let others know where they are, at any location in the world. Online networks also often translate to in-person groups, as with “meet-ups” and some social networks are effectively used for live event planning.
Lakeside Christian Church. Building Christian Community” http://www.lakesidechristian.com/Messages/AllMessages/2000Messages/BuildingChristianCommunity/tabid/86/Default.aspx