Re-DOING church  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Today's pastor is a human led and called by God to equip the laity for ministry. They have been given the mission, the vision and the discernment for what the local church has been called to do for the glory of God.

In two weeks, I and my husband am going on a little honeymoon trip. I need a vacation, I am about to burnout. Yet, I am not sad, depressed and frustrated kind of burn-out like I was last year. No, I have been burning the candle at both ends. But the fire is from the Holy Spirit that lit the candle. The wax has overflowed and I have seen so many of you pick up the wax to make your own ministry candles. Just remember to let the Holy Spirit light your candle, that is the only way to keep them lit. But let me give you another analogy, based on Psalms 23:5, “My cup overflows” and I pour into each of you!
Psalm 23:5 NRSV
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
God fills me up with His wisdom and power from the Holy Spirit. God calls me to follow Him and do His will. When I am doing that which God leads me to do, God pours into me. The closer I follow, the more of God Inexperience. I pour out God’s blessings, the understandings of God, and good works through His Spirit. So, through following God, I lead you to follow God. But that is not all it is. The closer you follow God, the more of God you pour out as well and others are able to experience God. Do you see how we pour God out into our community. It takes all of us doing these good works to lead our community in experiencing God.
Pray and read Acts 6:1-7
Acts 6:1–7 NRSV
Now during those days, when the disciples were increasing in number, the Hellenists complained against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution of food. And the twelve called together the whole community of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should neglect the word of God in order to wait on tables. Therefore, friends, select from among yourselves seven men of good standing, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may appoint to this task, while we, for our part, will devote ourselves to prayer and to serving the word.” What they said pleased the whole community, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, together with Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. They had these men stand before the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them. The word of God continued to spread; the number of the disciples increased greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.
Before we begin, let us go over some important definitions. We have been over the definition of disciple for a while now. Yes, here a disciple is a follower of Christ in our context, but specifically and in terms of this passage as disciple is a believer in Christ who is following the Apostles who are disciples of Christ. Remember, at this time, Christ has ascended and those who would come into faith in Christ would do so from the teaching of the Apostles. The Hellenists were those who were Greek speaking but were Jews who converted to Christianity. The Hebrews were those who were born Jewish, speaking Hebrew, and had come to believe in Christ.
Now, with this understanding, two things happening in today’s text:
The tasks for ministry are multiplying, so much so that some authority is being shared out of necessity. Or, the Spirit of God is moving in the church — this is the first church— so that the Apostles cannot do all of the work on their own. There were twelve of them, which may seem like enough to do all the ministry that was in front of them. Yet it wasn’t the amount of what needed to be done that was so burdensome, but that some tasks were taking them away from their original calling.
The task for ministry were also growing. Before, the Apostles where strictly focuses on the command from Christ before He ascended to spread the gospel, or tell the good story of the new kingdom, and make sure that more disciples were being made. So we could say that Discipleship and Gathering in Worship was the single most important tasks for the Apostles who were the head of the early church.
Outreach was easy to do, yet had great risk and consequences. People were curious and come to the church to see what was going on. The Apostles took the risk of going into the synagogues and places of Jewish gathering to heal and offer deliverance from evil in the name of Jesus. This alone was a full time job for the Apostles. So when the tasks for hospitality and care were needed, the Apostles had to appoint others to share the load. They recognized something that may seem harsh to some, but it is reality for them as it is for every human. The Apostles did their best work when they focused on doing that which they were called to do. Therefore, as the leaders they needed to delegate the tasks that they were not the best at doing, or frankly called to do, to others who did have those specific gifts and skills.
Take these five ministries that I have been talking about. I strongly believe and hopefully have shown you, that each of those areas of ministry are necessary for a church to be all that they are created to be. So imagine if you will we have 5 pitchers that represent each one of the areas of ministry we have been discovering over this Summer. I, as your pastor, have been teaching and preaching about God’s mission and vision for us. However, I understanding that I cannot do justice to each of these ministries on my own. Although I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength, I will be given the strength to do all that God has called me to do. Therefore, I would not be a good leader if I did not teach and encourage you to do all that God has called you to do.
So, God gives us these five bowls and I am here to tell you that we need to work on filling them up. I like to lead by example and by being a servant of God, so I will go first. I hope that I am able to explain God’s vision and mission and give each of you the encouragement to do this which God has set in front of us.
I am called to teach you about God. Not only is this my call as pastor, but I do believe that teach about God is a gift I was born with. I am encouraged the more I learn about God to tell more about God. So I pour a bit into this bowl. Next, I have a heart to reach those who are outcast, marginalized. I have been there and can relate to those who have made mistakes or have faced many failures. Yet, I am introverted so I can’t say that this is my strong suit to do Outreach. I just hope that I can share that passion to reach out with those of you who have this gift. Now, I love to plan parties and events, especially at the church, fellowship is fun and I love to see people sharing love and having Christian fun with one another. My own introverted nature goes away when I am able to watch others share the love of Christ and fellowship with one another. One-on-one conversations are harder for me, yet when someone needs to talk and needs prayer, I have compassion for them. As a pastor, I am called to visit with those who are in need of Christian conversation, prayer, and support. I love to encourage others to rest and to grow in Christ. Yet, in terms of my gifts as a pastor this is the area that I am not as strong in, compared to other areas. In the area of Nurture, I need help. I can’t be the only one to show Christian love and comfort to those in need. I need others to come alongside me to encourage and comfort the hurting. In terms of gathering for worship, again like in discipleship and teaching, this is an area I love. I enjoy preaching and teaching. If you spent a good deal of time with me, you will quickly learn how much I love our liturgical calendar. I get excited planning the event surrounding our Church Holidays. It gives me an excuse to listen to Christmas music in September or think about Christ’s passion and the Spring-time Resurrection at the beginning of winter. Yet, I am musically challenged. There is no way I would plan and execute any worship service on my own. I need you! And we need each other.
Look at the bowls, they are not full. Some may be filled a little bit more than the others. Yet there is room for you. Next week we are going to really begin to fill these bowls. So, now is the time for you to pray, pray for discernment. After everything we have talked about this summer, where do you fit in. What area can you contribute to filling? Let us pray for our ministry, let us pray for the ministries of this church. Let us pray for each other and promise to come alongside each other for the sake of God’s mission and call on the life of this church.
In the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
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