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Stage 3

The Ministry of
Every Believer

"But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned " Ephesians 4:7.

Every Christian is in the ministry, not just a select few. The responsibility of leaders is not to do all the ministry, but to lead, guide and equip each part of the Body to function in ministry - at work, at home, on the street and in the church.

"It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service..." Ephesians 4:11-12.

Every believer is full-time in the ministry - wherever they are. Each one has a vital contribution to make to the total ministry of the Church. But how do we discover our ministry gifts?

Start with your general calling

Every person has the same general calling:

Ministry is not about position or authority. It is about serving (1 Corinthians 3:5; Philippians 2:5-8). If we have an attitude of serving others, God will clarify our specific ministry.

"Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms" 1 Pet.4:10.

Start ministering to people

It is very difficult to discover ministry gifts if a person is not actually ministering! It is only as we operate in our general ministry that our special gifts become obvious.

"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up" Galatians 6:9.

Ministry is people-focused (Matt.9:35-36). If we concentrate on ourselves - our needs, our desires - it will be difficult to discover our ministry. As we begin to look out to meet the needs of others, our ministry will come forth.

Expressions of Ministry

"...Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you" Romans 12:4.

Apart from your gifting itself, there are three levels of operation that will distinguish your ministry from other similar ministries in the Body:

Capacity

Ministry gifts are distinguished by capacity. Some people have the capacity to minister to thousands, some to hundreds and some to tens, while others operate best one-on-one.

Field

God assigns a field to our ministry (2 Cor.10:13-16). That field may be a particular location, age group, sub-cultural group or ethnic group (Galatians 2:7-8).

Emphasis

In the broadest expression of ministry, every believer will tend to major in one of three emphases:

By recognizing what emphasis we have, we can focus on that ministry. Some people will gather, others will nurture new believers, while still others will have a teaching emphasis - in one-on-one sharing, in small group Bible studies and in larger teaching seminars.

Personality

Your gifting has one further dimension - your personality make-up. Your personality will flavor your ministry in a unique way. Some people have a strong emphasis in leadership; others in serving; still others in compassion. As we learn to recognize "the grace given us" we can give ourselves more fully to our specific areas of ministry.

"We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully" Romans 12:6-8.

The Gifts of the Spirit

The Bible lists nine "gifts of the Spirit" (1 Cor.12:7-11). These are "manifestations" of the Spirit's anointing as we minister to people. The nine gifts can be grouped into three types:

"...This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will" Hebrews 2:3-4 (read 1 Cor.12-14).

A Mix of Ministries

"There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men" 1 Corinthians 12:4-6.

No two ministries are exactly the same. God takes elements of many gifts and creates a "ministry mix" which is unique to each believer. As the different ministries in the Body of Christ work together, the ministry of Christ is expressed in His Church.

"Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love as each part does its work" Ephesians 4:15-16.

 

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Copyright 1981,1996 Paul, Bunty and David Collins. All rights reserved. This study may be freely used and reproduced, wholly or in part, by the Christian Church for the non-profit purposes of study and training only, provided copyright and contact information is included.

Unless otherwise stated, all scriptures quoted in these studies are from the New International Version of the Bible New York International Bible Society, used by permission. Other versions referred to are: KJV (King James Version), NKJB (New King James Bible), TLB (The Living Bible), Amp (The Amplified Bible) and The Message. All versions used by permission.

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