Friday, April 1, 2011

Touching Base! Part 120

Ovation - 1 Corinthians 15:58

(This article can also we found on our website
at under the tab called "Blog")

This Touching Base is a useful tool for small group discussion, personal reflection or in a one-on-one conversation. We believe that if the Sunday teaching is discussed outside of the morning services, it will be an opportunity to go deeper and build healthy community because God's Word needs to be discussed in community.

This week we took some time to encourage our ministry workers. One of our values as a church is team. One of the things “team” means is that no one person can do it all, and no one person dominates. Now a leader may have the final say on various issues but if he/she is wise, they will invest in the collaborative process to come to the right decision. If we come to the right decision in the wrong way (i.e. no collaboration) we can end up being a very overworked and lonely leader.

All of us have been on different kinds of teams. We all know that teams will go through seasons. Think of a team you are on, either at work or in the church context. What season is your team in? How are the various players feeling about the direction and health of the team? Is the team target clear or clouded? Are the team players partners, or are they just running alongside each other in getting the job done?

All teams can go through seasons of wondering if their efforts are really producing the right kinds of results they had hoped for. Individual players can ask the following kinds of questions:
  • As a parent - ever wondered about the impact your role is having as a mother or father?
  • As an employee - ever felt like you and your department were just spinning your tires?
  • As a student - ever questioned if all that studying and all that library time is getting you anywhere?
On Sunday we talked about how what we’re doing can, at times, feel like we are just wheeling dirt from one pile to the next and then back again. Pointless… repetitive… with zero profitable results.

Teams in the gathered church context can wrestle with the same issues. We wonder if our efforts are bringing true change in people’s lives. We question whether or not we would be missed if we just dropped our piece and sat in the pew. We rarely hear stories of lives touched or receive words of encouragement. Let’s face it; at times staying committed and focused can require some self-talk and sheer determination.

That’s why this past Sunday was so important. We entitled the service “Ovation” because we wanted to stand and applaud all our teams and the individuals that make up those teams. We wanted to say thanks, do the high five, pump the fist, and give the thumbs up to all our workers. For the gathered church to happen week in and week out, up to 170 workers are required at any given time. For the most part, these workers are on teams. Some of these volunteers serve once a month or every quarter, others are up every Sunday or Friday or whatever other day of the week the church gathers.

1 Corinthians 15:58 was our key text:
“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain.”
Paul’s point in the original context was that Jesus had risen from the dead, therefore their labour was not in vain, it was not a waste of time or purposeless. The same is true today, we serve a risen Saviour and whether we are up front or behind the scenes what we do matters. Ministry Matters because the God of the universe has created us for good works
(Ephesians 2:10) and when we do them faithfully, we don’t get weeds but transformed lives. Check out 1 Corinthians 3:5-10.

On Sunday Chris and Vera shared their stories on how the gathered Church has impacted their lives. I can’t think of any better way to encourage people who volunteer their time week after week than for them to hear stories of lives that are being ministered to. Ministry is not about gathering a crowd but about impacting lives with the gifts and resources God has given me and you.

As we pointed out on Sunday our focus for ministry is set far beyond the gathered Church. We want to impact lives in the gathered community so that when we scatter Monday to Saturday we do so with a heart calibrated to the purposes of God. We want the gathered opportunities of the church to propel people into strategic kingdom living. Anything less, and we become an embarrassment to the name of Christ.

So what can you do?

Be an encourager of those working in the gathered church. Speak up and say thanks. Tell someone how your life has been enriched because of their ministry. Write an e-mail, or go face-to-face, but just do it. I don’t think we encourage enough. Don’t worry about it going to the person’s head, pray that it will go to their heart and that they will be motivated to keep serving.

Secondly, pray for the many who “get it” when it comes to the scattered church. Many at Bethel understand that the space they occupy Monday to Saturday is their ministry. There are many who “get it” and they need our support. Also pray for those that just see their job as a job. That is not what God had in mind when he gifted them and instilled the passion He did within their hearts.

So stand and applaud! Think of someone and say thanks to them. Then next week do it again and then the next week do it again. Ovations need to be long and heartfelt. They are like oxygen for the soul!


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