The Entire Body
Every church is different just like every body is different, but the body needs all the parts to do their part for the body to function properly.
Think about the pain it is when you sprain your ankle and have to make it immobile to heal. It affects every other part of your body. Your other leg has to work harder to get you around, your armpits may even get into the mix if you must use crutches for awhile. When your ankle heals, you must build up the muscles around it again because of the resting they did to heal your ankle.
“But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it.How strange a body would be if it had only one part! Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.” 1 Corinthians 12:18-20
Many churches function as though they are a body with only a mind, a mouth, a neck, a hand, and some fingers. (Being the mama of a couple boys, I’m totally picturing “Monster Church” right now…)
Just like many parents abdicate their role of primary evangelist and disciple-maker in their children’s lives, they expect the paid “ministry workers” to do all the church work. It’s as though they say, “well, since I’m the knee and not the mind, there’s no need for me to serve at church. The mind can do all that needs to be done.”
These parents plant seeds of entitlement into their children’s minds about church.
Here’s what God says about that through Paul in 1 Corinthians 12:14-17,
Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. If the foot says, “I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,” that does not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear says, “I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,” would that make it any less a part of the body? If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything?“
I tell you what, when my knees decide not to work, it affects my entire body. I’m sure it’s the same for you.
As I’ve told you before, I’ve been working in some form of youth ministry for over 25 years. That means I’ve been working in a church as a job all that time. I’ve also been serving in children’s ministry as a volunteer or director even longer than that. I have a unique viewpoint as someone who has been paid to serve with my spiritual gifts.
I’m on the other end of parents’ statements (or at least inner thoughts) saying, “Why should I spiritually train my children, isn’t that what we pay her for? Isn’t that why I bring my kid to Sunday school/Youth Group, so she can use her Bible degree and teach them stuff I don’t know?”
I’m going to quote the Part V of Key 2: Big Church Involvement,
Pastors don’t have an extra-special calling above everyone else. They simply have the spiritual gifts of teaching and leadership. We’re all supposed to be using our spiritual gifts to serve and to be ministering to each other. Teaching is 1 gift not the gift.
I’ve worked in “Monster Churches” where only a handful of people serve. Monster Churches wear out their leaders. Many people who work in those kinds of churches burn out and, if we’re lucky, they turn into occasional bench-warming spectators instead of using their spiritual gifts to serve.
I’ve worked in churches where there are more people spectating than serving, but still there are servants of all kinds and giftings, better sustaining the church leadership.
I’ve also worked in churches where the majority of the body is working as it should and it’s amazing to see those servants spiritually thrive. Their marriages and families are stronger in that environment because it overflows from church service to home service (though it probably started in the home in the first place).
What does this have to do with the Church Skill Set?
When your children are part of a serving body, where they’re part of making church be what it was designed to be, it affects all the other aspects of their lives, as well. Just like I told you taking notes in church has benefitted my students in the school environment, serving at church makes them more attentive to serving in other places (home, school, with friends, and eventually with their own families). When your expectation is to be a servant, it doesn’t just stop at noon on Sunday.
A young man who’s trained to teach kids in Sunday school may realize he has what it takes to lead his own Bible study with his friends. A girl who learns how to run the Audio/Visual system at church is more likely to volunteer to run A/V for her school play. A girl who helps the elderly find their seats at church is more attentive to helping an elderly lady get groceries into her car at the grocery store.
Training our children to be servants at church trains them to be servants in life.
Things to Ponder
- Do you attend a Monster Church (only some body parts working) or a healthy body of believers?
- What other benefits can you see your children experiencing throughout life if they learn to serve at church now?