Functions within the Church
What do we mean by the Kingdom of God, and how does it relate to the Church?
What is our identity, our place, and our part in the Church?
We can understand what the Kingdom of God is and how it relates to the Church by exploring the following;
There are various functions/ministries within the Church just as the parts of the body have different functions. All of these parts are necessary to fulfill the three-fold ministry of the Church.
Ministry toward God—Worship (Romans 12:1; Psalm 29:2; Psalm 96:9; John 4:24)
We worship the Lord by offering our bodies as living, holy, and acceptable sacrifices to God. We worship the Lord in the beauty of his holiness. And we worship him in truth and spirit.
Ministry toward each other—Fellowship (Acts 2:44-46; Acts 4:32-35; John 13:34-35)
The Church is called to have close fellowship with each other—loving each other with a sincere heart and taking care of each other’s needs. Love is the main factor that binds the whole body together.
Ministry toward the world—Serving the world (Mark 16:15-16; Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:8)
Jesus sent His disciples to go out and preach the Gospel of the Kingdom of God to each and every person on the face of the earth. He empowered them through His Word, Holy Spirit, and His ever-abiding promise. Each member of the Church is a witness to God’s redeeming power in his or her life. Our testimonies can impact lost souls and bring them to accept the Kingdom of God.
A healthy church is one in which every member is functioning properly. Only a body where each part fulfills its function will stand healthy and strong. If every member functions properly, then the local church will have inspiring worship, loving relationships, and servant hearts for the world.
As Paul says in Ephesians 4:16, there are three functions each member of the Church has to accomplish. “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 4:16).
Firstly, each member must grow. Each one of us is personally and directly connected to the Head, Jesus (John 15:4-6). We must grow in spiritual maturity in order to bear fruit. God has called each one of us to grow and not to remain spiritual babies (Hebrews 5:11-14).
Secondly, each member must build others. This has been one of the missing elements in many churches. We do not take deliberate, personal responsibility for building others up. Usually, we delegate that responsibility to some professionals called “full-time ministers.” But biblically, we all have the responsibility to build others up through encouragement and support. Parents are responsible for building their children (Ephesians 6:4; Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Deuteronomy 11:18-21); existing disciples are responsible for building the new disciples (Matthew 28:19-20); the older women/men are responsible for building the younger ones (Titus 2:3-5; 2 Timothy 2:2).
Thirdly, each member must serve. Every member of the Church is a minister. We all have a calling from God along with the corresponding, necessary gifting as we continue to disciple in the way of Jesus and help each member to understand their gifting, the body functions in a healthy way to fulfill the mission of the Lord.
The purpose of different ministries/gifts within the body of Christ
The word of God says “to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12-13).
There are many members in the body of Christ, and all of these members form one body. God has made each member differently with a different gift that functions appropriately to allow each to fulfill whatever task God has given him/her. As we have many members in our physical body and none of the members have the same function, so we, the community of disciples, are one body in Christ with different gifts for ministry (Romans 12:4-5).
One Body Many Functions
The Body of Christ, the Church, is one unified whole made up of different parts (1 Corinthians 12:12-28). Each member is vital for the Body’s growth and maturity. As many members in the Body of Christ, we each need to function for the growth, building up, and maturity of the Body of Christ. I am a single member; hence I am not the whole, not even the half, but only a small part of Christ’s Body. We must realize the relationship which exists between each member when we exercise our gifts. A member cannot be a substitute for the entire Body, yet it can affect the whole Body (1 Corinthians 12:12-31).
In the human body for example, the eyes can see, the ears can hear, and the nose can smell. They all have their own functions, and each has its own portion. The same is true with the members of the Body of Christ. Not every member can see or hear or smell; but each member has its own specific function. To serve the Body of Christ means to supply the Body with the life which a member receives from the Head. When the eyes of a seeing member sees, the entire body is able to see; that member of the Body of Christ who has insight into spiritual things becomes the eyes of the body.
One Body Many Parts
In the physical realm, when my hand works, it is not my hand but my body which works; when my feet walk, it is not my feet but my body which walks. A physical member never does anything merely for its own benefit—whatever it does is for the sake of the body. The same is true in the spiritual Body.
Life needs a channel in which to flow. God is seeking for people in whom He can deposit an abundant portion of the life of Christ so that they may supply it to others (John 10:10). He wants us to be that channel of life, and He has given us our portion of talent, our specific channel, on which to focus our energies; some of these include administration, servant-heart, giving, hospitality, encouragement, music. Whatever the channel, God wants all of the parts of the Body to complement each other as they each carry out the duties to which they are assigned.
What Does A Healthy Church Look Like?
A healthy church is one in which every member grows, serves, and builds others. All of these qualities must come from the indwelling life of Christ in each believer (John 15:4-5). This is a profound paradigm shift from a program mentality to a people mentality. However, if we can create a church culture in which every believer takes responsibility to grow, serve, and build, the Church will easily transform the community in which we live.
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