Preachers: Sitting On Their.......Gifts?

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Church growth is fueled by energy and power. This energy must be postive and enabling in order to generate the power to promote growth and productivity. When the energy is negative the result is like a thermo nuclear device. Rather than growth we have destruction. Rather than productivity inhabitable wastelands are created. Such is the case in some of our churches as it is in other denominations. Now in some cases the negativity may be generated from the pews. However it can also come from the other side of the altar. In many churches we have ministers who are not pastoring sitting around in the churches waiting for the opportunity to preach. I would never ever say who is or is not called to preach God's Holy Word. The blemished records of Noah, Moses, David, Martha, Mary Magdalene, Peter and other saints exalted by God. Should be enough to make any nay sayer bit his or her lips. But! I do have one concern and it is not about calling but answering. I can not believe that the Lord has called so many into ministry just to sit around waiting for an opportunity to preach. Every saint is a preacher whereas we are called to be witnesses and share the Gospel. A minister's job is quite a bit more. We are to minister to the hurt the dying and the needy. And would the Lord call us to do so without equiping us with gifts? That is not what the Word says. Some Brother and Sister Preacher rather than minister sit on their....gifts Sunday after Sunday stirring up muddy waters of discontent againt the local church pastor. Others bitter because after yet another church conference where they are not appointed to a church cast stones of disillusionment at the entire body of Christ. What they call ministry may entail no more than assisting during services, visiting the sick and a select group of congregants. Congregants who often sing the background chrous to their songs of woe.

My point is that far too many ministers in our churches are sitting on their....gifts rather than answering the call. And too many of these ministers are valuable resources whose unrecognized gifts prevent the church from lifting itself up. What makes a church? A piece of paper? An official declaration? A sign on a yard or building? Or a body of believers worshiping Jesus and striving to be more and more like Him? Many of our brothers and sisters have churches waitin to be pastored and don't realize it. The churches are in; group foster homes, nursing homes,jails, prisons and other unconventional settings. Just as the settings of the early church were often in the market places and the homes of poor people rather than lushly decorated temples. If we can loose the tremendous energy sitting behind our pulpits. If we can lose their positive desires, visions and dreams. We would have a surge of positive energy that would grow hope, new converts to Christ, new workers in the vineyard and the AME Church. We would also see an unprecedented growth of new churches resulting in greater productivity (fruits of the Spirit)and thus safer, cleaner healthier and more rightous communities. So let us stand not sit. Let us go not stay. Let us lead not follow. For despite the obstacles we imagine stands in our way. The Lord still makes a way some how.

-- Anonymous, October 11, 2002

Answers

Rev. Woodberry's observations are right on the mark. This post is as good as any sermon I've heard on the topic about spiritual laziness and contentment. Many thanks for reminding us that true and effective ministry is more inclusive than just preaching. QED

-- Anonymous, October 11, 2002

Amen

-- Anonymous, October 11, 2002

Your observations are very correct. The other issue is the fact that many Pastors' feel threatened by others using their gifts in "their church" because they are the "Pastor" The role of a Pastor is to equip the people to identify and to use their gifts for the up building of the Church.

Does the AMEC observe the five-fold ministry in practice? or does the law prohibit it from taking place? Let's not put all the blame on those in the pews, let look at the leadership. When will the AMEC recognize ministries beyond the sanctuary. There should conference assignments to local churches for a various ministries. The 21st century church will call for multi-staff and team ministry, not just a Pastoral appointment. The Pastor could better serve the people, with administrative support, outreach, music etc. The Pastor should focus on the vision and proclamation of the word and overseeing the implementation of the vision, am I not right? Lord, help us to do things your way and not the AME Way! Forgive us for developing another way and not following your WAY.

-- Anonymous, October 11, 2002


What does this scripture say? To us? What does it mean?

Matt. 7:3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brotherís eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? 4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? 5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brotherís eye.

Be Blessed

Pastor Paris

-- Anonymous, October 11, 2002


One of the things that could happen would be for pastors to be prayerful and ask God where he wants to use us next. Once we know that then we can gather the pastors in our churches and have a meeting with them and brain storm how their gifts can be used. i.e mentoring programs for youth, working with the homeless, nursing home ministries, prison ministries, individual bible studies etc. One of the things I have noticed over my years of ministry, is that often times we do not ask people for help with ministry. Usually when people are asked and trained they are thrilled to participate. I hope we can develop ideas and ways we can engage ministers that are not pastoring churches. Perhaps this is an idea that can be discussed at the next Bishop's council. I believe that the AME way is the right way! There is a strong foundation and history in our denomination that allows for creative ministries. All it takes is one person to step out on faith. Let's keep talking. what would be the first step.

-- Anonymous, October 11, 2002


Dear Rev. Woodberry

Praise God for the refreshing honesty you have written. Prof.QED is right, maybe the best sermon post I have seen in a while. If you would allow me a brief addition I believe some of us as sheep are way to happy to sit on our ... gifts as well and not supporting the work God has called us for including supporting our Pastors who are not sitting on their gifts. May God Bless You and your Ministry.

Best Wishes from across the water!

-- Anonymous, October 12, 2002


Amen. All Christians should recongize their gifts and use them for God's glory.

-- Anonymous, October 13, 2002

This is a powerful concern within the church of Allen. In major metropolitan areas we have too many "supernummeraries" they don't have a charge and they don't have to take on a ministry if they choose not to do so.

The bishop only appoints pastors so these ministers without a charge are literally free to come and go as they please. Why are we going to require a theological education when we have no official ministries for men and women who do not feel called to the pastoral office.

Also even if we had such offices, how would we compensate these individuals.

-- Anonymous, October 20, 2002


I praise God everyday for blessing me with the Pastor that I have. My Pastor allows her Ministers in Training to participate in the service as well as teaching bible study and Sunday school.

My Pastor even allows Laypersons to use their gifts for the upbuilding of God's Kingdom. I have learned alot from my Pastor because of the training she gives not only to her Ministerial Staff but to the entire Leadership of the church.

The young people of our church enjoy Immanuel because they are allowed to share their gifts and are not made to sit in the pews and be silent. I can not imagine being in a church and not being allowed to bless others with the gifts that God had blessed me to have and I guess that is why I am proud and honored to have a "Pastor" after God's own heart.

-- Anonymous, November 08, 2002


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