Members of Seventh-day Adventist churches have tremendous ministry potential. Many are enthusiastic about involvement in their church’s evangelism strategies, however those in leadership are sometimes reticent to let them get involved. Behind this “only professionals can do it” mind-set is the fear that church members may do or say something wrong, causing people to turn away from Christ and His church. Sadly this resistance to member involvement is so ingrained that it prevails even when people have been adequately trained for a ministry. The Holy Spirit and the promises He brings aren’t just for the leaders; they are for all who are willing to surrender in faith and submission to the Lord, to all who are willing to deny self and work for the salvation of others.
What principle taught by Jesus in Matthew 7:17-18 should allay the fears of concerned leaders? How do we distinguish between good and bad fruit, and how should the church leadership as a whole be involved in this process? Also how do we do this without judging others?
If every sound tree bears good fruit, church leaders should focus on growing sound trees. As with everything that has to do with our response to the gospel call, we must first be someone for Jesus before we can successfully do things for Him. If we give adequate attention to the leading of people into a meaningful and deepening relationship with Jesus, the Holy Spirit will ensure that they bear the right fruit. Our part is to lead, teach, and train. God’s part is to bless their ministry. We need to trust them and God. If we give adequate attention to spiritual growth and practical skills, we can trust people to produce the right fruit of evangelistic success. Certainly, there may be an element of risk depending on the ministry undertaken and the level of training, but we must remember that even the disciples, who had the greatest Teacher ever, never won every soul to which they appealed.
Have you ever felt that your gifts and talents were not appreciated? What might be the cause? Look inside yourself and see if, perhaps, the fault might lie there with you and some of your own attitudes (pride, and so on) instead of somewhere else?