“Mel, I’m going to throw these bossy lesson guides into the trash. They aren’t helping me a bit!”
“What? That’s a ridiculous thing for a Sabbath school teacher to say. I think these lessons are great.”
“But they’re written like a set of management lessons to give to managers at work.”
“Except the work is on a higher level. Stewart, these lessons were written to help us do a better job of fulfilling the gospel mission presented to us by God.”
“And to identify problems. Like Sunday’s lesson. It talks about how church leaders don’t share the job of the ministry with others like they should. How is that supposed to help me do a better job of teaching my Sabbath school class?”
“It’s supposed to remind you that there are people in your class who can help you. Even Moses, as mighty as he was in the Lord, needed help to lead the Israelites.”
“From his father-in-law. You’re saying I should ask your dad to drive 150 miles to this church every week and help me teach my class?”
“Not at all. I’m saying you should study these lessons carefully. I’d like to see you start up a witnessing program of some kind with your class. These lessons will help you do that.”
Stewart wasn’t fully convinced, but he did study the lesson that week and came to his class with a new perspective on how we should share the work with each other to help prepare people for a God-led ministry in the local church. Come back next time and see what happened.
[Thought Questions for Releasing into Ministry May 29, 2012]
1. Take a risk for success. A new member comes to church. Handsome. Carries himself well. Has a lovely wife and three precious children in church school. What else do we need to know about this young man before we put him in charge of a department or ministry in our church? Will the pastor be drawn to him automatically? What about the other church members? Is it right for someone brand-new to your church to be given church responsibilities? Was that a smirk of jealousy you caught from someone sitting behind the new family in church? How can you incorporate this new member into the soul-winning activities of your church?
2. Matching work with workers. The lesson guide suggests that we should match people by age range, nationality and language for sharing our witness. Who should do that? The pastor? The lay activities leader? The individual? How can it be done? Is talent a good indicator of future success? Have you ever watched highly talented individuals fail totally at a church responsibility? Or people with experience and talent in one-on-one communications who were bypassed when such workers were badly needed?
3. Grow spiritually while you work for Him. Is it possible to dedicate yourself to God’s church and end up growing spiritually while you handled ordinary tasks for your church? Is it selfish to expect spiritual growth whenever you volunteer? What is the “secret” cure God gives us to keep us from following false doctrine? See John 7:17. What is the pay for a worker with God? Are the Biblical insights and revelations of truth you receive when you enlist as a solide
4. Harmony through involvement. When you move to a new location and choose a new church to join, what is the first thing you should do as a new member of that church? If you don’t get involved soon, what happens? Is there a way to reach the person who is totally distant from the church and just doesn’t want to get involved? If people in your church disagree about how the church should be run, should you withdraw your membership and go elsewhere? Two people can’t get along with each other. Does that mean they shouldn’t be brought into a church ministry? 2 Tim 4:11.
5. Let’s go! For Friday’s lesson, we’re geared up and ready to go! The author even has a timeline set up for us to follow for planning: one full year! Does that seem like too long? Not long enough? What sort of a campaign or program would you like to set up? Do you have enough people with you to launch the program successfully? Is the budget adequate? Does the church fully support the program? Have you asked the Lord to go with you through every phase of your project?