Have you ever felt the urgent need to do something, but you were not sure what and where? That is exactly how we felt about the various ministries in our church. We sensed that God had placed us together for a reason. He wanted us to work together to make a real difference in our communities. Yet, we were not sure how, or what He was calling us to do. We attempted to formulate our own visions and programs, and then carry them out. However, it quickly seemed to be all up side down. It was almost like deciding on our own what we should do, and then ask God to bless it and gift us accordingly. There was something clearly wrong with that. So, we decided to turn the table around, and asked God what His design for our congregation was.
Like a Great Puzzle
We began to see that if God places people together, it is not by mistake. There must be something He had in mind. Also, we realized that we were to look at how He had endowed us with specific passions and gifts. That would give us a much more realistic view of what functions we should perform within the body.
It was much like working with a puzzle. At first you see a bunch of pieces that seemingly make no sense. It would be futile to decide what image those pieces should form and then attempt to “force” them in place. Likewise, it is futile to define our own programs and then try to “fit” people into them. What we need to do is to begin putting some of the pieces together as they fit naturally. Not forcing them, but as they were designed to fit. Soon you begin to see what the overall picture is supposed to look like. This makes it much easier to place the rest of the pieces in the correct places.
So that’s what we did. We began placing down the corner pieces, then the borders, and so on. Of course, we still have much to do, but the image is beginning to become more and more clear. As the overall picture becomes clear, then, we can begin to see which programs are a good fit and which ones are not.
God’s Will, Not Ours
One of the most exciting aspects of this process is to witness the growth of the congregation. This happens when the members of the congregation begin to see that there is a purpose for us all to be together. They realize that we are not called to define this purpose based on our programs.
That is actually the work of the Holy Spirit. God Himself places us in the body as He sees fit. He endows us with gifts for ministry as He sees fit. He is the great Artist, and we are the puzzle. As a result of this process our church started to gain a greater sense of purpose. This is what is now fueling our desire to be part of God’s work. We know we all have a vital role to play, and that our role is given to us according to God’s will. It is so empowering and refreshing!
As this process of discovery and reassessment takes place, there are moments in which we experience the pangs of change. Things look different, and it can be somewhat unsettling. What is helping us deal with that is the excitement we all share in discovering God’s greater design for us, and how we are supposed to function together.
Just like our various organs are all vitally important and necessary for the proper functioning of our bodies, so are we in the body of Christ. God has placed many different people in His church. We have different passions and gifts so that we could all contribute as we work together as one body. This, however, can only be accomplished as we operate interdependently with each other. It is just like in our physical body. Our heart cannot decide to jump out of the body and function on its own. Both the heart as well as the body cannot survive if they are independent. When we serve God interdependently, we give our unique contribution to the rest of the body, but we also benefit from what all the other parts of the body supply.
How This Affects Our Ministries
Our ministries are profoundly affected by this approach. As we serve one another and the community, we don’t do so independently from one another. Rather, we tend to function as a complete body. We work together for mutual edification and with the primary purpose of giving glory to God. However, this also means that our ministries are constantly evolving to adapt to God’s overall design. As stated, we are not there yet, but we are making good progress. So, things can still be changing, and ministries can still be redefined and blended according to the will of God. The process is quite exciting and deeply rewarding.
What About You?
If you are looking for your place in the body of Christ, we recommend that you take serious inventory of what God has given you in terms of passion and gifts. Then you can compare your findings with the need within the body. You are bound to see a match somewhere, so you can exercise everything God has endowed you with. Yes, you can make your unique contribution to His church. In our congregation we offer periodical classes geared to the discovery of your God-given passions and gifts. We then follow up with consultations and actual placement in ministries within the body. It is a good way to facilitate this process. But remember: the enthusiasm and the joy you will discover in serving the Lord can and should be contagious!