Church Ministry – A shared ministry: Meditation for the Tenth Sunday after Trinity
The ministry of the church is a shared ministry. Every church member has a role to play. None is irrelevant and none is indispensable. It is God’s design that the church functions as an organic whole, with contributions and inputs from the members who constitute the component parts. God, in His wisdom has endowed the church with diverse orders of ministry and varied gifts for the purposes of mutual participation and building up of one another. Sharing, common participation or fellowship, is therefore an essential part of Christianity. It is not to a person’s credit that he does it all without involving others. Christians, particularly the leaders, should learn to discern and identify the gifts and abilities in others and ensure their maximum utilisation. Also, it is neither in the church’s interest nor the people that some are not involved. This is because those left out have much to contribute, which the church loses by their non-involvement, while the people themselves have much to gain by their involvement, which they lose by their non-involvement.
Reflections on the Bible Readings for Day (Mattins)
In the OT reading (Exod. 18:13-26), we find Moses sitting alone as judge for the whole people of Israel. All the people with cases would queue up and the exercise would linger for the whole day, thereby stressing both Moses and the people. Moses felt he was the only one who could do it. But his father-in-law showed him that he was wrong, and introduced him to a shared ministry, which he said is both helpful and God’s will for His people, concluding thus: “If you do this and God so commands, you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied.” (Vs. 23).
The NT reading (Acts 6) is about the choosing of the seven. The church so increased that the apostles could no longer cope with attending to their holistic needs, and the Hellenistic Jews started complaining about overlooking of their widows in the daily distribution of food. Consequently, the apostles decided on division of labour or shared ministry. The whole people should be involved. They were to choose seven Spirit and wisdom-filled people from themselves to whom should be entrusted the ministry of material and social welfare. They chose seven whom they presented to the apostles for commissioning, and the church’s work prospered.
The apostles involved others in the ministry of the church. Even the spiritual matters to which they devoted themselves were not taken as their exclusive preserve. Stephen, for instance, who was not one of the apostles, was reported to be full of God’s grace and power and did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people.
The Venerable Dr Princewill Onyinyechukwu Ireoba, FIMC, CMC, is the Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.
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