June 7th, 2011 08:45 EST
Is the Division of Labor Keeping Christians Immature?
Division of labor is such a fact of life that a church where each member is cross-trained to handle every ministry task -- including the pastor`s -- seems conspicuously un-modern. But according to one pastor who leads congregations simultaneously in both Korea and the United States, eliminating division of labor in the church is key to growing Christians to fullness in Christ.
"The Gospels don`t portray Jesus administering a gifts test to his disciples and dividing up the labor according to their skills and interests," says Rev. Eric Foley. Instead, Jesus trains his disciples by having all of them to do all of the same things he did -- healing, proclaiming, sharing bread, opening their homes, and even taking up their crosses. These `Works of Mercy` weren`t preliminary activities designed to help them discover one or two ways to focus on serving him. Doing all the activities -- grounded in what the church has always called `Works of Piety,` or spiritual disciplines -- is how Jesus taught his followers to receive God`s grace fully and mirror it to others completely."
Foley wrote The Whole Life Offering: Christianity as Philanthropy as a guidebook to ensure that each of his congregation members would annually grow in each Work of Mercy and each Work of Piety.
How can churches move beyond division of labor and cross-train members in every area of ministry? Recommends Foley:
Begin each year with a month of preparation, reacquainting church members with the Bible`s overall plan for growing believers to fullness in Christ.
Focus on one Work of Mercy each month.
Use each of the seven Works of Piety as a lens to explore each Work of Mercy. "We start each month searching the Scripture to determine how Christ performs this Work of Mercy on us. We progress through learning how the church has understood this Work of Mercy across the ages. Then we work through prayer, worship, and self-denial related to the Work of Mercy before ending the month serving and giving to others."
The Whole Life Offering is available for purchase through Amazon or by visiting www.wholelifeoffering.com, which also contains a diagram showing all the Works of Mercy and Piety. Rev. Foley is available for interview; contact .W Publishing at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
SOURCE: Christian Newswire