The church is a beautiful thing. We are God’s dream team. We are the ones he chose to be his hands and feet, to love the world and to draw people to him. There are times we may disqualify ourselves because we are not in full-time ministry, don’t know the bible well enough or feel tongue tied when people ask us about our faith. We can even go so far as to say that the work of the church should predominantly be done by the elders and the church exists to support them in their ministry.
But the first churches in the bible shows us that this simply isn’t true. Yes, churches were led by elders who carried responsibility to care for them under Jesus. But the church was powerful and effective because it operated as a body, ministering to one another and spreading the gospel. We are called a royal priesthood, which means we are all ministers of God’s word, each with differing gifting which God uses in different ways and at different times.
This past weekend I had the privilege of being part of a team which reflected this truth in a profound and powerful way. My husband, Brad (who is one of the elders at The Rock) and I were invited to spend the long weekend down the coast with some friends from our church. In total, there were four couples and eleven kids. Of the eight adults, five were musicians from our worship team who were going to lead worship at Southcity Church in Ramsgate on the Sunday morning. Brad and I were not going for any ministry reasons but rather to spend time with our friends.
On the Saturday afternoon the muso’s needed to practise and I was keen to do some training so Brad offered to take nine kids (varying in age from three to ten) swimming on his own. Early the following morning the worship team headed off to set up and we took care of the kids until it was time to go to church. During the service, a friend who was with us, and I, each shared a prophetic word which led into a time of ministry.
Sometime during the worship I looked across at my husband holding the daughter of one of our musician friends and I thought: this is the church. This is the body. This is the priesthood. The elder is not always the one with the up-front ministry. He is not always the one sharing a word from God. He is sometimes the one holding a little girl whose mommy and daddy are leading the church in worship. The church is never about profile or hierarchy. It is about knowing we are all priests in the house of God. It is about knowing our gifting and knowing each other. It is about creating space for the gifting of others to bless the church.
Whether an elder or a two-week-old believer, whether leading worship or taking kids swimming, it is all about Jesus. When we understand that we all carry his authority and we have a revelation of his servant heart, we will see every task for what it is: a powerful advancing of his kingdom. That is when we operate as the dream team God wants us to be.