Commentary on "Every Member Ministry"
Day 7: Friday, April 13, 2012 - Further Study
The last segment of the current lesson brings home the practical application of the "every believer a minister" philosophy. The Adventist member is asked to check what particular ministry of the church fits his known gifts, commit for 12 months in order to plan, implement, and evaluate his work, decide how much time he will spend every day in it, consult with the pastor in order to integrate into the vision of the church, and so forth.
One thing is certain: the member has a lot of work to do; he has to do a better job than he has ever done before so he can know what his gifts are, see where they fit into the missionary activity of the church, has to construe a plan, and on top of all that, he has to contact the pastor and with his help merge his vision with the pastor's vision. Besides being a difficult process because there are a lot of elements on which the outcome depends, this plan focuses on working hard at something that should “organic” in a believer’s life while neglecting the actual needs of the member.
If indeed the Adventist organization preaches the true gospel and the church is a true church, it inevitably will reflect the reality of Christ's spiritual body. To it will apply all the characteristics enumerated by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. The church members who are truly members of Christ's body are already the salt of the earth, just where they are placed—at home, in the neighborhood, at work. They already have the saltiness of (Matthew 5:13). They are already witnesses for Christ, because they are also “the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden." (Matthew 5:14). Their light already shines.
The duty of the pastors is the duty of the shepherd: lead the flock into green pastures, and feed and tend the sheep and the the lambs (John 21:15-17). If the gospel is not preached, if the word of God is not communicated in its true meaning to the members, there will be no saltiness, to light, no witness for Christ. Despite all managerial efforts to bring every member into ministry, the failure these members already experience as salt and light of the world is sure proof that the problem is endemic.
Only a true light will shine, only a true salt will taste salty. Instead of pointing a finger at the pastor's inability to understand, embrace, and implement the "every member a minister" principle, the finger should be pointed at the kind of spiritual food the Adventist shepherd gives to his flock. If the flock is not alive and well, if the taste is missing, something's rotten with the food.
It's time for the Adventist organization to take a hard look at the spiritual food—it's message, it's gospel—and check its soundness, no matter what the consequences of this inquiry will bring.
Copyright 2012 BibleStudiesForAdventists.com. All rights reserved. Revised April 12, 2012. This website is published by Life Assurance Ministries, Casa Grande, Arizona, USA, the publisher of Proclamation! Magazine. Contact email: BibleStudiesForAdventists@gmail.com.
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