Thursday, November 8, 2007

Serving Our God as One

I’ve really been enjoying the show, Kid Nation, and all of the challenges the kids participate in. Each week, the children are faced with an opportunity to show teamwork. As individual districts, they are working toward the goal of social standing in Bonanza City. As a city, they are working toward a prize. All four of the districts need to complete their challenges within an hour in order to get something great like a washing machine or a disco party. The older kids take on heavier, specific roles in many of the challenges, while the littler ones are given tasks within their strengths. Each person plays their specific role in order to help the whole. Without everyone succeeding, there is no prize.

As I was thinking about it this morning, I realized that the church works the same way. Each ministry is working within itself, using people in their strengths and gifting in order to achieve what we call Children’s Ministries, Student Ministries, Credo, etc. For the most part, we do it really well. We complete our tasks. But it seems so easy to forget the second part of the challenge—working as different ministries toward one big goal, the big prize. We keep ourselves separated, forgetting that we belong to the church as a whole.

So how do we unify? How do we continue to make our individual ministries happen without ignoring the greater needs of the church? It takes unity and support. It takes an understanding that while your ministry is valuable and important, it shouldn’t be a priority over any other ministry. It takes recognizing that God has gifted you in one area but not necessarily another. Appreciate those who are gifted differently. I’m so thankful for our middle school pastor! If I had to do his job, we’d have a lot of dead kids on our hands. While my ministry to children greatly differs from Pattie’s ministry to women, we still need to recognize the importance of both while respecting the varied methods. It warms my heart when our college pastor says there’s no way he could ever do what I do. In the same way, I could never do his job.

With mutual respect comes support. Stepping out of my ministry box and understanding that it might be insulting to the other ministries to have a kids’ kitchen against the wall in the auditorium while they try to present themselves as relevant to a critical culture and therefore storing it away midweek shows support. Sure it takes extra effort to pull the large piece of plastic out and put it away each week, but being able to support my fellow ministers is worth the work. In the same way I love their support in respecting the items in our Sunday school classrooms throughout the week.

When we all work hard within our specific areas, we can do great things for God. But when we all join together as a church, amazing things can be accomplished. While the ministry I do with the children, their parents, and the volunteers doesn’t give me social standing as it does on Kid Nation, something is achieved. But just like the kids in Bonanza City, the best reward doesn’t happen until the ministries I work alongside accomplish their goals as well. Do I want to see our church grow spiritually? Would I like to see new families join our fellowship? Am I overjoyed by commitments to Christ? Yes! But can I do it by myself, on an island, without the support of those I work with? No. True church takes unity and support. It happens when the body of believers, gifted in a variety of ways, join together united to serve our God as one.

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