One of our Core Values here at Element Church is: “It Matters: That no matter what you do in the church, it matters just the same for the church.” We believe that. That the person in the pulpit is no more valuable than the volunteer in the parking lot. Every position in the church matters just the same for the church. That is one of the reasons why we try to highlight a volunteer each week here on the blog as the “Volunteer Of The Week”. All of our volunteers are amazing and one of the ways we try to honor them is by highlighting some of the work they do here and how that impacts God’s Kingdom.
Well, today we don’t have a V.O.W. to showcase, but I do want to remind us all about how you can know that what you do matters! It’s actually found from a story in the Bible. In Acts chapter 6, we are told that the church was rapidly growing and this was causing some division among the people. Because the church was growing, the apostles weren’t able to minister to all the people effectively, something had to be done.
Acts 6:2-7 says “We apostles should spend our time teaching the word of God, not running a food program. And so, brothers, select seven men who are well respected and are full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will give them this responsibility. Then we apostles can spend our time in prayer and teaching the word.” Everyone liked this idea, and they chose the following: Stephen (a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit), Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas of Antioch (an earlier convert to the Jewish faith). These seven were presented to the apostles, who prayed for them as they laid their hands on them. So God’s message continued to spread. The number of believers greatly increased in Jerusalem, and many of the Jewish priests were converted, too.”
The key word in that whole passage is “SO”. SO God’s message continued to spread. To me, that implies that if the apostles had not allowed other people to serve in the ministry, the message would of slowed down instead of spread. So how can you know that what you do matters? Here are 3 things I see from this passage that are true in the church today.
1. It frees people up to serve in their strength — We need to know here, that the apostles weren’t opposed to running a food program, they just weren’t able to do that and continue to teach the Word as they were called. Two things to point out: A. The apostles could have kept running the food program but they would have actually been keeping someone else from serving in that area who could do it better than them in the first place. B. The people could have refused to run the food program and the Word of God would not have spread as far or as fast as it did. For a “pastor” to be involved in every ministry the church does is actually unbiblical. The pastor should work full time in the ministry but the pastor should not work fully in every ministry. That’ll preach right there and that is one of the reasons why IT MATTERS what you do. When each of us play a part in the church we help the church play it’s part in God’s Kingdom.
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2. It fuels the Gospel to spread — “SO God’s message continued to spread. The number of believers greatly increased…”. I don’t know about you but I want to see the number of believers greatly increase in our community. One of the ways the early church accomplished this was by dividing up the ministry among the people. I know that church today looks a lot different than it did in Acts chapter 6, but I got a feeling that this went much further than the food program. The early church had it’s own problems, just read Paul’s Epistles if you don’t believe that. But at least here in Acts chapter 6, it sure seems like everyone did their part. In the church, no one person can do everything but we can all do something and if we all do something we can end up accomplishing everything. When we each do our part, the number of believers will greatly increase and is another reason why IT MATTERS what you do.
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3. It finds the most unlikely of people — I’ll admit, this one is a stretch, but it stands out to me none the less. After the apostles chose seven men. After the men were running the food program. After the apostles were focused on prayer and teaching. After all of that, the number of believers greatly increased and many of the Jewish priests were converted too. I wonder… Again, I’m admitting this is a stretch, but I wonder… I wonder if the priests saw “normal” people involved in the ministry and helped lead them to their conversion. The priesthood was a sacred position. Not just anyone could be a priest. You had to be born into the right family and be the cream of the crop among those who were eligible to be a priest. But here the early church was, allowing everyone to be involved in the ministry. This was a foreign concept to the Jewish people, especially the Jewish Priests. Now, for some of the Jewish leaders this is what caused them to oppose the church. But for others, I just wonder if the use of everyone in ministry actually opened them up to the faith. It’s why what you do matters! When the church includes everyone in ministry it’s a sign that anyone can receive the message.
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To everyone who volunteers or serves in any capacity here at Element Church, Thank you for what you do! Because you serve, people are free to serve in their strength, the Gospel is fueled to spread and you help us find the most unlikely of people for Jesus! What you do MATTERS!