Written Word

The Church: An Every Member Ministry

The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ … Now the body is not made up of one part but of many … Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. (1 Corinthians 12:12-27)

The church is the body of Christ. Every Christian is a member of that body with a distinctive contribution to make to the life of the body. And the Lord has structured the church like a body composed of different and varied members. It is this variety that enables our physical body and the body of Christ to function effectively.

Within the church the members are different. This is God’s design and purpose. Furthermore, it is God’s prerogative to give us a particular gift or gifts, therefore there should be no jealously among the members for the differences are of God’s creating.

Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 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 12:4-8)

Within every congregation of God’s people the gifts he has bestowed must be nurtured and developed so that the church can function effectively. Each member must strive to use the gifts they have received from the Lord. This is clearly addressed in Paul’s letter to the saints at Ephesus.

But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it … 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, so that the body of Christ may be built up … 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 4:7-16)

The church must engage in a shared ministry where each member has a contribution to make to the community. Furthermore, the church must encourage members to use their gifts and provide them the necessary opportunity to do so. The gifts we have will minister both to the church and to those outside the community of faith. When this occurs we will witness the body of Christ at work in our world. Just as Jesus intended.