Serving in a church – part 1
We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach. (Romans 12:6-7)
We all have gifts from God and are called to use them to meet others’ needs, including in different areas of church life.
This week we look at a few of the different ways we can do this with the help of our congregation, with input from some of Bristo’s members. Each of these roles is specifically relevant to Bristo, though there will be many other churches who have similar structures.
Even if God is drawing you to something out of your comfort zone, give it a go! You might discover something brand new.
The gifts used can vary greatly. Teaching and preaching, though similar, are not necessarily the same, and there can also be a prophetic element to some sermons.
Preaching involves gifts such as: teaching, prophecy, faith, discernment, leadership, wisdom, counsel, encouragement and words of knowledge.
The Zondervan Illustrated Bible Dictionary defines preaching as ‘God’s appointed means for communicating the gospel of salvation…and for strengthening the spiritual life of His people’. Jesus was the first to preach the Gospel in its fullest form, following forerunners such as John the Baptist, as He called people to repent while also providing encouragement and direction from God’s plan for people’s lives.
The role of preaching can be life changing, as it involves sharing the gospel, guiding people towards God and a greater understanding of Him. You may have a burning passion to preach – we see this in 1 Corinthians 9:16: when I preach the gospel… I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! In 2 Corinthians 4:5 Paul also emphasizes how preaching should be for Christ, rather than ourselves, and through this we can discern God’s words to those listening.
1 Timothy 3:8-13 states that deacons must be sincere and worthy of respect, they must hold to the truth of the faith, and they must be able to manage their own household. Deacons act as a team and bring various skills that complement each other, such as administrative, financial, leadership, decision-making, discernment, pastoral or problem solving.
Although a deacon’s work is less public than a preacher’s, they are no less significant to the life of a church. In Acts 6:1-7 we read of the first deacons, who took on some of the apostles’ tasks including the daily distribution of food, or ‘diakonia’. Nowadays, the role will vary depending on the church.
At Bristo, deacons are elected and meet regularly to discuss topics such as finances and pastoral care, with larger issues being presented to the congregation. Although no specific gifts are required, we seek to discover what gifts God has released into each new diaconate team, and deacons use these to work together to ensure the smooth running of the church, whilst seeking God’s will and direction.
Upkeep of the building
Much of the work that is required to maintain and run the building is unseen. Even during the pandemic when the building is not used as much, maintenance and building administration are still needed.
The Church is a metaphorical building with Jesus as the cornerstone. As we read in Ephesians 2:22, a church is where people are built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. Maintaining a building where people can meet and worship Him is a fantastic thing.
The space is often shared with community groups from outside the church, so maintaining the building can be an ideal way to serve them. Information about church events or short gospel messages can be displayed around the building, providing an outreach opportunity.
Many churches would be lost without people who maintain the building! Their gifts help preserve the building for future generations to continue worshipping God.
The Bible makes a lot of strong and pointed statements about wealth; promoting how it can be used to help the needy in society while addressing how money can usurp the place of God in our lives and be used to rule over others.
The Bristo Finance Team seek to honour God by using their collective skills to promote and administer wise stewardship of the money received by the church.
You may have noticed an offering plate or a bag being passed round during services. These funds, along with standing orders and other income, are used to further the work of a church. This may mean supporting charities, purchasing resources for children’s work, and various other projects. As we read in Mark 12:41-44, anything you give will always be gratefully received by a church.
As well as donations, churches require people gifted in finance to ensure that funds are used in a way that furthers God’s work in the church and the community.
As with other roles, the finance team is a position that calls for prayer to discern God’s will for a church’s finances.
We’ll continue to look at more serving roles in the next couple of weeks…
Do you feel drawn to any of the roles in this article? Pray with a friend and see where God might be taking you.