4 Prerequisites to Service

Posted: April 16, 2013 in Uncategorized
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Pastoring a church has its unique challenges and none are more challenging that at times acting as the HR department. I have been called upon to put out fires, confront, remove people from ministry and at times serve as referee. I do not wish to just focus on the negative. For while there are negatives there is something so rewarding about working with so many who have such beautiful servants hearts. I am truly a blessed man.

While I sit and contemplate what is the most important thing when it comes allowing someone to serve in a service position I have settled on four items. This is by no means exhaustive but things that are necessary nonetheless.

1. Ability- I do not believe that everybody is suited for every ministry. Sometimes we need to say no, that’s not for you. Churches are great at plugging holes with warm bodies. They then wonder why ministries don’t work. I believe if God is in a ministry that He has provided all the correct pieces of the puzzle. Unfortunately we often mismanage these pieces and try to put them where they just don’t fit. Make sure ability lines up with the need. Saying no now is easier than removing someone that has been in a position.

In Mark 5 Jesus cast demons out a man that has been referred to as the Gerasene Demoniac. This man had lived among the tombs and after he encountered Christ he was a changed man. We are told he begged Jesus to let him accompany Him. Jesus told him. Instead this man was told to go do a different ministry.

2. Availability- If people are to serve in a church setting they must be people who are faithful. If someone is unwilling to show up to church when they do not have to “perform” their ministry then they clearly are in the performance. If someone is not committed to service and to church then they are the wrong person. I believe each church has to define this. Create a timeline and be aware of those being considered for a position a watch how faithful they are. If a skilled person does not come to church more than once a month then they should not even be considered. I believe that a faithful person will rise to the service. If you are constantly asking, “hey where is ___________” then chances are they ought not be in a service position. They need to be told “figure out how to be faith and then we will figure out how to plug you in.”

In Matthew 19 we find a narrative a man that has been referred to as the Rich Young Ruler. He essentially came to Jesus and said, “Here I am, I want to follow you.” Jesus did not respond in a manner that was pleasing to the man, so the man left. Just because someone is available does not mean they are ready or the right person.

3. Actions- How somebody conducts themselves is a huge deal. Nothing will hurt a church more than having a compromiser up on the platform acting holy. There must a consistent life present that can be seen not just in church but in everyday life. People who are engaged in immoral relationships should not be on a platform leading worship! If they have availability and ability we cannot overlook the obvious. It never ceases to amaze me how a church is willing to bypass God’s standards for their servants because they have a glaring need in the church. There would appear to be a severe lack of faith when we say God can provide for our needs but do not believe that if we uphold His standards that we will survive.

The writer of James tells us that we are show our faith by our works. Just as we can show off our faith by doing we can show off our lack of faith by doing. We do not want people from our community shocked that the worship leader is a Christian. His actions should show that even when he is not on the platform at church.

4. Attitude- Malicious grumpy people will do nothing but pull apart a team. These people at times are hard to spot because they tend to crack under pressure. They have ability, are available and appear to be doing the right thing with their actions yet something happens when they don’t get their own way. Bad attitudes will not just be frustrating for those working with them but will stop other volunteers from stepping forward. It is amazing that this is often overlooked and that churches often offer an inordinate amount of grace towards those who show no grace to anyone else. It is better to remove one bad attitude than to lose five good attitude people that can’t handle grumpy pants. This is one item I would actually take a step further though. If the individual that is being considered for ministry is married to a chronic complainer that appears not to like people I would consider that a huge red flag. I have known pastors, worship leaders, deacons, elders, and others in ministry that had their ministries hindered in a huge way because of their spouses. Attitudes will typically do one of two things: they will attract or repel. The last thing I want to see happen in my church is that new people are repelled by those who think their spiritual gift is de-edification.

Scriptures abound in regards to that which proceeds from one’s mouth. It is not hard to tell whether or something is acceptable and unacceptable. Then again, when we are with other believers who are fellow servants in our church we should not have to police attitudes and words. The Holy Spirit is the convicter and this is His job. Therefore if they are not convicted clearly there is a deeper spiritual issue present.

In conclusion, I would add that we must seek God’s face when looking for servants. Filling a position in a church can never be more important than honoring God. We owe to Christ to do it right.

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