the weblog of Alan Knox

Every member is a minister… really

Posted by on Oct 29, 2008 in blog links, elders, service | 6 comments

In Scripture, every believer is a minster (servant) and every believer is a missionary (sent to proclaim the gospel). No… really… not just in theory. This is not something that’s interesting to talk about, it is our identity and purpose as followers of Jesus Christ. Thus, with this blog, I talk about what I’m learning and what I’m living. I’m certainly not perfect, and the people that God has placed around me are not perfect, but we are attempting to serve and proclaim the gospel to the community in which we live. Do we make mistakes? Absolutely! But, we make mistakes while doing… not while thinking or planning or wondering… but doing!

Tuesday morning, Dave Black posted a short article called “Christianity’s Prescription for Sick Churches” which included an excerpt from a Bible study that his son Nathan put together. (I’ve encouraged him to publish the entire Bible study online.) In response to this short excerpt, Dave says the following in general and about Nathan in particular:

Every member of Christ’s Body is a minister. Every function is a ministry. This means, as Nathan implies, that all Christians are to be known by one word: servant. This service to others is an obligation, not an option. The Bible teaches the priesthood of all believers, and not merely a few.

Nathan himself is a rank-and-file part of his small congregation in rural Virginia. There he leads and plays piano and teaches the Bible lesson every Sunday, not as a pastor, but as a parishioner. (The church, in fact, has no full-time “pastor.”) This is how he “washes feet” in Jesus’ name. He refuses to be paid for serving. After all, he reasons, I am an able-bodied man and can support myself.

Nathan truly practices what he preaches. What a rich heritage his children will have. No, there is nothing wrong with receiving an occasional love offering from others. But that, it seems clear from Scripture, is to be the exception, not the rule.

It seems like today everyone wants to give or receive a title before actually doing something. Nathan doesn’t desire the title “pastor”, but he “pastors” just as every believer should do. Nathan doesn’t want money for his service… then it wouldn’t be service… it would be a job. Instead, Nathan desires to “practice what he preaches” – he is serving the people among whom God has placed him. He wants to be known simply as a servant… like his Lord… who didn’t come to be served, but to serve.

What about you? Are you content being known and recognized as simply a servant?


6 Comments

Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 10-29-2008

    Alan,
    I and a fellow brother in the Lord have an outdoor ministy at local mobile home park in our city. We go down there on Sundays proclaim the gospel. Then on Thursdays I go out and visit with the people we see on Sundays. All of that to say this. They are starting to call me pastor or reverend because that is what they are accustomed to calling people in the ministry. I have told them no don’t say that just call me Steve. I have a servants heart. I am a servant to the people there and that is all I want to be known as is a servant. We are continually trying to instill that as we preach that we are all called to preach and serve.
    I recently turned down an opportunity to be “licensed” in our state because that is not what I am about. I don’t need a title or license to be a servant of Christ. I used to think it would be cool to have a title, but now the Lord has shown me what a true title is Jesus Christ. And He was a servant first. So anyway that’s my two cents.
    Steven

  2. 10-29-2008

    I wish more people would catch this mindset. When I tell people that I want to start a small community of believers that study together, laugh together, etc. the vast majority always think I am saying that I want to be some kind of pastor. Most people simply can’t comprehend it any other way.

  3. 10-29-2008

    Mark:

    Are you not being a shepherd, i.e. a pastor?

    Keith

  4. 10-29-2008

    Steven,

    The people recognize that you are caring for them. Unfortunately, today people usually associate the work you are doing with the work of someone who desires to have the title and position of “pastor”. Praise God for people (like yourself) who desire to shepherd with a title!

    Mark,

    Like I said to Steven, thank you for desiring to serve and shepherd others without a title.

    Keith,

    It sounds like Mark is definitely shepherding, doesn’t it? Perhaps he’s hoping for a community of shepherds before some are recognized as leaders? Just a thought… we’ll have to wait for Mark to respond.

    -Alan

  5. 10-30-2008

    I tell you Alan, after sveral years spent on church staff, there is such INCREDIBLE freedom to simply just “be” a follower of Christ now, on the “outside”. I personally believe that it is much more than just “being a servant” like Jesus was. I believe it is a deeper understanding of God’s divine order. There is One Head of the Body, Christ Jesus. I don’t want to be the head of anything!

    In this approach, I NEVER have to operate out of my own will, strength or abilities – it is ALL Him – all! Oh how sweet it is!

  6. 10-30-2008

    Alan,

    What a blessing Dave’s article was! It made my heart sing!

    How I empathize with those who have commented! May the Lord give them fruit for their labors.