Tomorrow I am going to be preaching on Ephesians 4:7-15 about how God has given each one of us unique gifts to be used to do the work of ministry in building up the church. I’m really looking forward to it. So often people think of “ministry” as a fulltime position for a church, or a volunteer activity that you do as a church. Now, I’m in a full time position at a church and our church couldn’t run without an army of volunteers, so I by no means want to knock those things. However, ministry is so much more than that. Ministry is all of life as we seek to make and mature disciples of Jesus. It isn’t an optional activity, but a necessary part of what it means to be a Christian. The question that every follower of Christ must ask is, “How is my life contributing to building up the body of Jesus Christ?” We are all to be “in ministry.”
No one exemplifies this better than my friend Jessica Slingerland. Jess does not have any formal “ministry title” in our church. However, she is one of our most valuable ministers. Jess sees people that others don’t. On the street, on her block, in the church, Jess is on the look out for anyone who doesn’t seem to be fitting in. She cares for the lonely, has compassion for the misfit, is patient with the messy and has mercy for the outcast. Let me give one example. This past Monday, Jess reached out to me because she had heard of someone in our church who was hurting. This is not an uncommon thing as Jess is often more clued into what is going on in the congregation than I am. She wasn’t reaching out to me, because she wanted me to go put a Superhero cape on and be the solution. She was reaching out to me to know what she could do to help. I didn’t get back to her, because I was caught up in another crisis. However, the next day, I got a call from the person who Jess was worried about thanking me for sending Jess over to come care for her. I told this person that I had nothing to do with it, this was Jess’s own initiative. They were floored. I wasn’t. This is just what Jess does. She doesn’t need a title and she doesn’t wait to be asked. She is on the look out for who has a need and how she can help serve them in that need. And she doesn’t just meet a need. She is always pointing people to Christ. Jess isn’t a mere do gooder. She is a gospel woman.
I’m sure Jessica is going to be upset at me for writing this blog post. However, we need to honor people like Jess. It isn’t just those that you see up front that make Christ Church the awesome community that it is. It is people like Jess giving their life to the ministry of building up the church.
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