Total Member Involvement-Priesthood of All Believers

On 4 Aug 2018, the pastors and employees of the Singapore Adventist Conference (Singapore) gathered at the Seventh-day Adventist Community church to witness the ordination of Pastor James Tham to the gospel ministry.

While preparing to share the message, there was a significant point I had shared before which continued to resonate within my heart. This point applies not just to pastors but applies to every member of the Christian faith.

The point is: Every Christian believer is called to be involved in ministry. It is not an option. We may function in different capacities and emphasis based on our spiritual giftings, natural abilities, experiences and training. However, our ultimate goal is to share the gospel to every kindred, tongue and people. Ministries and programs are merely tools to introduce people to Jesus.

We come from all walks of life. Regardless of our background, all of us are chosen and called to be priests and priestesses. I Peter 2:5-9 clearly expresses that we are a chosen nation and a royal priesthood to proclaim God’s marvellous grace in every circumstance. Based on the apostle Paul’s explicit instructions to pastors as found in Ephesians 4:11-13, one of their primary functions is to equip and train their members for ministry and works of service so that the body of Christ will be strengthened.

Now, imagine there is an assigned trained pastor to a church congregation with an attendance of 100 members. These members have an unceasing passion for “lost” people. In Luke 15, the Bible uses analogies of a shepherd going to seek out the lost sheep; a woman searching for her lost coin, and the father awaiting the return of his lost son.

Just imagine every member who has been trained, equipped and empowered by the Holy Spirit, is now sent to share Jesus with everyone in their home, community, workplace, school and all public arenas. The church will not just have one pastor! It will have one hundred active serving “priests” (or “pastors”)! The calling of the ordained minister will be to organise and lead the church toward outreach and evangelism. Imagine what difference would that make to the vitality of the church and the spirituality of every member? There will be a great revival and lives will be impacted on every level. It will be evident that in that church, the power of God is genuinely moving in every direction.

If every member functions as prescribed by these two bible passages, pastors would be freed up to do more evangelistic work. Our churches will be able to break new ground in engaging non-believers in various community initiatives and establishing a centre of influence for the purpose of soul-winning.

Ellen White once wrote, “Brethren and sisters, how much work have you done for God during the past year? Do you think that it is those men only who have been ordained as gospel ministers that are to work for the uplifting of humanity?– No, no! Everyone who names the name of Christ is expected by God to engage in this work. The hands of ordination may not have been laid upon you, but you are none the less God’s messengers.” (RH November 24, 1904). This message of bringing salvation to every was repeatedly emphasised, not just in her writings but in her life as a testimony, because she is God’s messenger.

In closing, I thought it would be appropriate to repeat what I had shared in my message at the ordination service: the ten basic statements of ministry as a framework for our involvement as royal priests for the kingdom of God.

Ten Basic Statements about ministry:
1. The foundation of ministry is character.
2. The nature of ministry is service.
3. The motive for ministry is love.
4. The measure of ministry is sacrifice.
5. The authority of ministry is submission.
6. The purpose of ministry is the glory of God.
7. The tools of ministry are the Word and prayer.
8. The privilege of ministry is growth.
9. The power of ministry is the Holy Spirit.
10. The model for ministry is Jesus Christ