The Body and Mission- The importance of volunteers and finding your place to serve now
By Shireen Chua- Missions Mobiliser with OMF New Zealand
I’ve been thinking lately about the Body of Christ, the Church with all its diversity and gifts. In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul begins this chapter by talking about the spiritual gifts that God gives us. These gifts are given by the same Spirit, and for the common good of the body. He then talks about the centrality of unity and how each different part of the body needs each other to flourish. In our differences and the diversity of our “functions”, all are important to God and for Him to use, for His Glory. This passage has often been used to encourage members of our churches to get involved, use our gifts and serve the church. Courses such as the Network course help us to identify our gifts, and use them in service .
I wonder if Paul saw challenges and areas of growth or conflict in relation to each body part.
The passage reminds me that everyone is unique and important to the Body of Christ. There is no hierarchy of importance, but rather our significance lies in our unity together. It also speaks of integrated relationship and partnership. Our body parts can’t exist and function on their own. We need each other to function as the body. Thirdly, it speaks of growing together to function as one.
So what does this have to do with global mission and East Asia’s billions? Everything, as we seek to grow the body of Christ, the global church. No one role or function is greater than the other. All need each other to relate to each other. Growing through challenges and conflict helps make us a body. Verse 6 says, “there are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.”
The world of mission is changing rapidly, just as the world is changing. From global trends to micro-trends, change is a constant. We see this in the active involvement in mission where there is an aging workforce – from our prayer partners, supporters to those who continue to serve cross-culturally. We see different forms of mission taking place in different contexts.
The call of God remains a constant. His call over 2000 years ago to make disciples of all people and go to the ends of the earth remains for His Body to fulfill today. We require each member of the body to play their part for us to fulfill this call of God and in the OMF context for the sake of East Asia’s billions. Each one of us who prays, gives, sends, receives and goes is part of the Body fulfilling the Great Commission. As we discover our gifts, we should exercise them in a way that grows us and the Kingdom of God.
We pause to acknowledge the amazing work of so many of our partners in mission over the generations – those who have led prayer groups, short-term trips, given finance, served OMF in leadership roles over the years. We wouldn’t be here without you using your gifts. We seek to raise up a new generation to join us.
In this new season, we’re exploring new ways that others can join us in Mission. We’re seeking to create new opportunities to partner with individuals, cell groups and churches to grow together in mission. One of these ways is through Bridge Mission to Asia – a volunteer network– where there will be opportunities to grow and serve. We seek to learn together, be equipped so that we can serve God with the gifts that he has given us to use.
Do you know anyone who has a heart for East Asia’s billions who wants to share some of their gifts with us? Are you one of them? Can you commit to growing together and exploring one avenue of service? It could be helping with the mailout four times a year, helping to run events in different regions, speaking and teaching about mission in different contexts. If you want an opportunity to grow in your faith, come and discover what this might look like.
I encourage you to grow where you are planted. for more information go to https://omf.org/nz/go/