Here are the notes from Elizabeth our Executive Pastor and Connections Guru when she spoke to our new Ministry Partners, in January. Well worth the read.
True growth happens when we become engaged with God’s plan. God’s plan is basically, Know God, Show God. Developing a rhythm in life is all important. It’s like breathing. Breathing in and breathing out. Or living in, gaining strength, energy, insight, and grace, then living out to share your strength, energy, insight and grace in your world.
The below illustration shows balance. Believing is as important as knowing where we Belong, as is where and who we are to Bless. Spiritual growth incubates in this environment.
At times there are seasons of Believing where we need to spend time developing faith, relationship with Jesus, and dependence upon the Holy Spirit. Other times we need develop our Belonging by strengthening our relationships with others. Other times we need to develop our spirit of Blessing and go out of ourselves to bless others.
Quick Connect is in the blessing arena. Security comes when we know what we believe, and discovering whose we are. and with whom we are in relationship with. We bless because of our beliefs, and join the adventure of expanding God’s Kingdom by serving with others.
What is Service / Partnership and how is it Different from Volunteering?
o A “good” thing – helpful, necessary – philanthropy
o Usually the volunteer is a “worker bee” who does whatever the ones in charge ask
o Often no sense of ownership in the vision or project
o Sometimes wind up with “round pegs” in “square holes”
o Sometimes done out of a sense of obligation (sometimes guilt)
o Often simply a way to “fill slots” in existing programs
o People “help”; staff lead and do
· Service in the biblical sense:
o Exercising your unique giftedness in service for the Kingdom of God
o Growing in faith and maturity through the exercise of your gifts
o Integral aspect of personal discipleship
o Involves discipling and mentoring others to assist them in the discovery and development of their gifts
o An aspect of worship (Romans 12:1b)
o Jesus said, “I did not come to be served but to serve . . .”
o People are ministry partners with the pastors and staff, not volunteers – pastors/staff help; people lead and do
Goal of Quick Connect
Our goal is to give you opportunities to try out different opportunities for service through the Vineyard, so that you can experience the God-ordained benefits of service that we just mentioned and so that you can participate in advancing God’s Kingdom. Important note: we don’t want you to be round pegs in square holes! If you find that the particular ministry that you’ve signed up for is not your cup of tea, then the Connections Ministry will help you discover your gifts and passion and re-direct you to another opportunity.
Core Biblical Basis for Service
· Ephesians 4:11-16 (Read the passage)
o Role of pastors and ministry staff/leaders: equippers
o Role of people: exercise service
o Purpose: build up Body of Christ
o Result: unity in faith, knowledge of Christ, spiritual maturity
o Really cool word! New Testament written in Greek and translated into English and other languages. The Greek word that we translate “equip” literally means “to mend nets.”
Disciples and Jesus – Jesus called disciples while they were “preparing” their nets (Mark 1:19) – make ready
Can also be translated “set a broken bone” – idea of restore/restoration
Illustrate with fishing net (tell story from beach on Tortola and demonstrate how net works) – mending a net restores it to its intended purpose
o Humanity’s purpose = to glorify God
“In him (Christ) we were also chosen . . . in order that we . . . might be for the praise of his glory” (Eph 1:11,12)
o Purposeful living = discovering a sense of personal purpose or life mission (God given) (Rom 12:1b). Biblical examples: John the Baptist, Jesus, Jeremiah, Paul
o You are fearfully and wonderfully made! (Psalm 139:14)
o “Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us.” (Rom 12:4-6a)
o “For you are Christ’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which He prepared in advance for you to do.” (Eph 2:10)
o Back to “equip” – that fishing net has purpose, it’s intended to catch fish. It also has potential because of how it was designed and crafted.
o YOU have unique God-given purpose and potential!
Example: an apple. Where is the potential in this apple? It’s in the seed! The smallest component of the tree. Isn’t that amazing? If you think that you are small and insignificant, maybe lacking in purpose and potential, you are wrong! An apple seed, when planted in the right conditions, grows up into a tree that bears fruit, and that tree has the potential through its seeds to become an enormous orchard! So it is in the Body of Christ!
You have a unique, God-given SHAPE! You have Spiritual Gifts; a “Heart” or passion for particular people-groups, ministries, causes; Abilities and talents; Personality; Experiences – all that and more combines to uniquely “fit” you for particular ministries
· SHAPE class coming in January!
o God gives each and every believer a spiritual gift or gift mix
9But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. (1 Pet 2:9,10) – each person is a “priest”
10Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. (1 Pet 4:10) – each one has a gift
Read: 1 Cor. 12:4-20 – (each part of the Body is essential)
Ministry, or Christian Service:
· Putting hands and feet to our faith!
· Triggers spiritual growth
o Spiritual growth occurs through many things: Bible study, prayer, worship, fellowship, sacraments, other disciplines.
o Yet, true spiritual growth is activated as we serve!
o James 1:22-27; 2:14-17
The Example of Gideon
· Summarize Judges 6 and then read:
“When the angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon, he said, “The LORD is with you, mighty warrior.”
13 “But sir,” Gideon replied, “if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our fathers told us about when they said, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the LORD has abandoned us and put us into the hand of Midian.”
14 The LORD turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”
15 “But Lord , [a] ” Gideon asked, “how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”
16 The LORD answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites together.” (Judges 6:12-16)
God addresses Gideon as “mighty warrior,” but Gideon is hiding out in a winepress, threshing his grain there because he is afraid of the Midianites! I can just see Gideon looking around over his shoulder saying “Who, Me??!!!”
· How many “mighty warriors” are here tonight? Have you sold yourself short because you feel unworthy or lacking in response to God’s call? Receive your God-call tonight and walk tall as the “mighty warrior” He has created you to be.
And the whole Body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love as each part does its work.