1 Corinthians 12:12-14, "For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many."

Recently I have been involved in two occasions in this congregation that profoundly touched me—Vacation Bible School and Community Outreach Day. What deeply touched me was the sight of so many different members (from teens to elderly!) who were involved. In a real way, the success of each occasion was the result of so many members being involved.

This is in no way a derogatory comment on our many other ministries. I feel more than confident that every ministry leader quickly would say the effectiveness of the ministry depends on a broad-based involvement and the contributions of many members willing to do what they can. In the two mentioned, the involvement of many members with differing abilities was quite visible. Always, it is a matter of function—not competition!

I am always amazed to note how much is accomplished when members do what they are capable of doing--with no thought about who is and is not visible. Yet, why should that be amazing? That is what scripture said 2,000 years ago.

First, Christians need the Lord’s concept of church. While the word “church” is a specific religious word now, that was not so in the first century. The word “church” existed before Jesus Christ was born or the Christian movement began. It simply meant those “called out” to fulfill a specific purpose. Christians are God’s “called out” dedicated to God’s objectives in righteous lifestyles through Jesus Christ. They do good works, not to exalt themselves, but to give glory to God (Matthew 5:16).

The church is not a building. It is not a location. It is not a collection of programs existing “because that is what a church does.” It is not an organizational chart declaring who has the right to control. It is a group of people who serve together because, in a common love for Jesus Christ, they are committed to God’s purposes and each other.

Second, Christians need to realize no Christian can do everything, but every Christian can do something. Wise is the congregation that makes it natural for all its members to be involved in ways they are capable of serving! The key to congregational success is not letting someone we consider a “superior Christian with extraordinary abilities” carry everyone else, but the key is encouraging all of us ordinary folks in Christ to do what we are able to do.

We are a body! In a body fingernails and eyelashes serve important roles to hands and eyes!

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 4 August 2005

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