One of my favorite things I get to do to serve the church is leading our young adult ministry. It’s not a large group of people but it’s growing in number, and in its effectiveness, and it keeps me thinking young. We are in the middle of a study called “Identity: Image Bearers of the King”. We have been looking at how God has created us to be His ambassadors on earth while we await His return.
Our most recent study was on the “Office Gifts” from Ephesians 4:7-11. This particular night I noted two things that our young adults seemed to have never been taught from this passage. The first came from verse 7, many people when they teach on the “Office Gifts” start on verse 11 completely missing this part. “Now grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift (CSV).“ “Each one of us” is a key to understanding this passage. Every person who is a follower of Jesus Christ has been given an office in the church. This doesn’t mean that we are all hired by the church or that we have equal authority. It does mean that we are all capable of carrying a portion of the burden that is caring for the Church.
The second new piece of information to many of our young adults seemed to come from verse 11, ” And He Himself gave some to be… (CSV)“. He, here referring to Jesus, gave each one of us to be gifts to the church. You are the gift! Each member of the body is a gift to the church! What would happen if every person actually believed that they had a part to play in the church? And, what if they had a roll in “equipping the saints for the work of ministry”? Verse 12 tells us that the goal of these gifts is that we all might “reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son”.
When so many in our faith communities have never been told that they are a gift to the Church, is it any wonder that we haven’t grown into maturity? Is it any wonder that the Church is so fractured? That’s the point of this entire passage, we are all meant to be one, to function in a manner where we all support each other.
So why don’t more people step into Church leadership? I’m sure there are many reasons, but I think an easy one to address is that so many have never been told that they are a gift to the Church, that they are an important part, and that if they aren’t there we are missing something.
Brian and his wife Anna serve in the metro Atlanta area, home to people from more than 761 different people groups. They work with refugees and urban poor with Envision Atlanta. Brian has helped Envision Atlanta start two businesses, a window cleaning company, and a mobile thrift store. One of the goals of each business is to provide job training and livable wages to its workers. In October of 2018, Alazne Grace was officially adopted into the Baldwin home. Brian and Anna are required to raise their own support to pay their salary and would love to expand their monthly supporters. You can give here. Envision is part of the Christian and Missionary Alliance and your gifts are all tax deductible. Every gift is valuable for advancing the work being done. You can also sign up for Brian and Anna’s newsletter here (outside link FYI).