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One of the responsibilities of the pastor is to
equip the saints so that they can go out to do the
work of the ministry and edify the local church. The
pastor fulfills his duty by teaching and preaching
the Word of God. In addition to the public ministry, he also spends time on a personal level helping individuals grow in the knowledge of Christ. This is well understood. However, people often don't understand how they are to accomplish their half of the equation: working and edifying.
There are several steps that the church member should take. First of all, he needs to be in a right relationship with God, and be open to the leadership of the Holy Spirit. An individual who is in rebellion against God is unable to be effectively used by God to minister. The person who is insensitive to the Spirit will not be responsive to the leadership of the Spirit. Secondly, he needs to listen. Often men fail to understand their responsibilities and the means for carrying out those responsibilities because they choose not to listen to the teaching of the Word of God. Some folks choose not to have a personal time of Bible study. Others choose to be absent from the House of God. Still others go through the motions, but their minds and hearts are far from God, and they leave Scriptures in the same condition that they were in when they arrived. If we will listen, God will show us what to do, and how to do it.
Third, the believer must act. We are to be doing the work of the ministry. Let me ask you a question: What is your ministry within the local church, and how hard are you working at it? "Ministry" means that we are doing something that is ultimately for the benefit of others. "Work" means that we are expending a lot of energy to accomplish it. So often we concern ourselves with our own needs, and fail to remember that God said that He would supply our needs. Some might ask, "what kind of ministry can I, have?" My friend, the work of the ministry is extensive.
Did you know that we have nearly twenty elderly people in this church who have lost a spouse? I believe they could be ministered to. We have several folks who are virtual shut-ins. Who ministers to them? How about the single parent, or the child whose parents never darken the door of the church? These are real needs, and require real work. Workers are needed behind the scenes in a variety of areas. Who sees to it that the church is clean, warm, and maintained? Who makes sure the snow is shovelled? Who befriends the first-time visitor, and invites them to the house for dinner? Who visits the hospital and the funeral home? Who takes a meal to a family in crisis? All of this requires time and energy, and it all is to be accomplished through the local church congregation.
What is your ministry? Are you working hard at it? These are important questions, for if we do not answer them now, I do believe that we will someday answer them before the judgement seat of Christ. How much better to be prepared today.
Mark J. Montgomery