Serving Together

On Saturday 3 February at the Volunteers Launch Day, we looked at Paul’s words in Ephesians 4. There, the apostle Paul describes the gifts the risen Jesus gave to his church:

So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
Ephesians 4:11-13

Notice the logic: Christ gives apostles, prophets, evangelists and pastor-teachers? Why? To equip his people for works of service.

This flips on its head the language Christians have sometimes used. We have sometimes said something like: “Everyone who follows Jesus is a Christian, some Christians go into ministry, and ministry is serving the church.” That’s not what it says here! Rather, here:

1. Jesus gives the church leaders and teachers (prophets, evangelists, apostles, pastor-teachers)

2. Their job is to equip the people of the church for ministry (”works of service” and “ministry” are the same words).

3. When everyone in the church is serving (that is, doing ministry) then the body of Christ can be built up.

That’s the vision which drives what we do in the “service” area at Prov. We want to see the entire body of Christ equipped, encouraged, empowered, and supported as together we do the work of ministry. In many ways this is the “how” of our vision. How will we be and become a church united, as together we work to give those around us a fighting chance to know Jesus? It will be as “each part does its work” (Ephesians 4:14).

Growing Leaders

We’ve made a few big changes to the way we serve together at Prov. Over the past few years we’ve shifted from serving on rosters to serving in teams. In the coming year, we’re focusing on growing leaders. Each of our teams needs someone to lead them, and increasingly, we need to raise up people who’ll lead teams of team leaders. We’re persuaded this is the way we’ll be able to keep growing as a church, and growing up gospel workers, as we go about reaching the 800,000 with the gospel.

Here’s what it’s starting to look like –

At the Launch we gathered together as team members and team leaders to think about what it is to be part of a team, and what is is to lead a team.

As team members we get things done with others, together. We don’t serve on our own, but with others to achieve our part in reaching the 800,000. As team members we want to do our best, being reliable and faithful, and seeking to grow as we serve.

As team leaders we get things done through others. Our role is to help the team succeed in their purpose as they serve together. As team leaders we succeed when our team succeeds, and so we spend our time planning and being available to them. We also help our team members to grow as they serve.

Feedback at Prov City

As we serve together on teams, we want to be growing! Growing in our love for Jesus as well as in our gifts and skills, so that as a church we’ll keep growing to maturity under Christ. This year we’re introducing a model of giving each other feedback to help us grow, together in our teams, and as individuals.

On Saturday, we talked about a conversation we might have with our team leader to reflect on our service –

    • How did you go?
    • What do you think went well?
    • What did you find hard/ could you do differently?
    • What do think went well?
    • What do I think you could improve in?

We also talked about how we might use this model to reflect as a team –

    • How did we go?
    • What do we think went well?
    • What did we find hard/ could do differently?

Ministry Area Breakouts

On the day we broke into our ministry areas to think together about our purpose as we serve together.

Worship

One of our key verses for Sundays comes from Colossians 3:16:

Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.

We want the message of Christ to dwell among us richly. That is, we want our gatherings to be saturated with the word of Christ (that is, the gospel). That happens a number of ways: through preaching, reading the Bible, prayer, testimony and so on. But notice here it happens as we teach and admonish one another in our songs! Signing is (amongst other things) an exercise in everyone teaching everyone!

Sundays are a wonderful example of each part pulling together for a greater cause. From the AV and tech team, to set up and pack up, to musicians, preachers, Bible readers, and prayers—each is coming together so that we can have the word of Christ dwell richly amongst us.

Community

In the Gospels we see Jesus share meals with people time and time again. His ministry set the pattern. The history of the church is around the table.  For hundreds of years, this is where the people of Jesus met.  The gospel spread from one table to the next.  From one home to another.  All over a meal.

Although we’re not eating a meal together every Sunday, we as a Team are setting a table so to speak for our Church Congregation.  The Table is an ordinary place.  So routine and everyday it is easily overlooked as a place of life changing community.  By setting a table and sharing a meal, we provide the context for which people feel loved, where people feel heard; a place where God’s spirit can move.  The practice of eating and drinking is central to the Kingdom of God; Jesus ate with the lost, Jesus ate with community, Jesus ate with God.  We participate by mirroring Jesus by holding space for people around to be seen and heard, and enable a generous hospitality that ultimately lends itself to transformative faith.

Maturity

The thread that ties Growth Groups, Thursday Morning Women, and Prov Young Adults together is that they are all seeking to provide spaces for small communities of disciples to grow together and encourage one another to be become more like Jesus, in a context where people feel known, valued, and loved. There is a fair bit of variety between the groups but they are all aiming towards those two big outcomes!

On Saturday we spent some time thinking about the ingredients of a good group, and reviewed GG Leader Role Summary [DRAFT] that articulates what groups can be like.

Mission

The local Missions team is passionate about helping our church to reach the 800,000 people in our local area who don’t know Jesus and to see many lost souls won for Christ. We are working on a number of strategies and events for 2024 including an Easter Picnic and Taste and See courses (more info and dates for the year to follow very soon).

We need a lot of volunteers in a number of different capacities right from helping with vision and leadership in the team, to assisting with logistical tasks at individual events, and everything in between!

We would love to have your involvement as we serve together to make Jesus known in our city.

ProvYouth

Our vision at ProvYouth is to be the seedbed for a healthy and thriving Prov Young Adults ministry. We want to form Young Adults who passionately, faithfully and evangelically love and follow Jesus.

At our training day we looked at three things to help us achieve that vision:

1. We reviewed what it means to be a healthy leader. Let’s create healthy disciples by being healthy disciples.

2. How can we lead better, more fun and successful games?

3. How do we create and maintain meaningful conversations where our youth feel heard and are honest about where they’re at?

Yours,

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