Monday, 7 February 2011


Later this month, we are going to be starting a calling out process to fill the vacancies on the Ministry Team, as well as hopefully calling out one or two people to train as Readers here at St Martin’s.

This morning I want to take the opportunity to talk about ministry in general, and the role of the Ministry Team within the life of St Martin’s, and the calling out process.


Two weeks ago George Fisher the Director of Parish Mission, came and spoke to us, and in his talk he used the analogy of fishing to describe the task of outreach and evangelism.

He said that very often we tend to think of fishing as being a solitary activity, whereas in Jesus’ day, fishing involved a group of people working together as a team to bring in the catch.  

George made the point that evangelism and outreach isn’t the sole responsibility of the vicar, or the gifted evangelist, but each one of us.

In the same way as Christians we are all called into ministry, because ministry is living our lives in service of God, bearing witness to Christ, and this is the calling of every single one of us.
One of the first things Jesus did when he began his public ministry was to call a group of people to be his disciples, and share in his ministry. Jesus wasn’t just a one man band, he clearly saw it as important to involve others in his ministry.  And it wasn’t just the twelve disciples.  In Luke 10 we read that Jesus appointed 72 people and sent them ahead two by two to every town and place where he was about to go (Luke 10:1).  And in Acts 1, we read how Matthias was appointed to replace Judas Iscariot, as one of the twelve disciples.  In choosing Matthias, the apostle Peter says “it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus was living among us, beginning from John’s baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection.” (Acts 1:21-22) 

What is clear is that teamwork is a vital part of life in the body of Christ. God’s work involves many different individuals with a variety of gifts, talents and abilities. There are no superstars in this task, only team members performing their own unique roles. 


God has given His church an enormous responsibility, to make disciples in every nation (Matthew 28:18-20). This involves preaching, teaching, healing, nurturing, giving, administering, building and many other tasks. If we had to fulfil this command as individuals, it would be impossible. But God calls us as members of His body. Some of us can do one task; some can do another. Together we can serve God more fully than any one of us could ever do alone. It is a human tendency to overestimate what we can do individually and to underestimate what we can do as a team! As the body of Christ, we can accomplish more together than we would ever dream possible, working alone. Working together, the church can express the fullness of Christ.


Peter portrays the church as a living, spiritual house, with Christ as the foundation and cornerstone and each believer as a stone. 

While Paul portrays the church as a body, with Christ as the head and each believer as a member. Both pictures emphasize community. One stone is not a building or even a wall; one body part is useless without the others.  It is a reminder that we are the church, and each one of us has an important role to play within the life of the church.  It also reminds us that within our very individualistic world, we are dependent upon one another, and so when God calls you to a task, remember that He is also calling others to work with you. Together our individual efforts will be multiplied, so that collectively we can allow Jesus to build a beautiful house. 


Here at St Martin’s the Ministry Team plays a very important role within the life of the church. 

The Ministry Team is structured around the four core areas within the life of the church.  Prayer and Worship, Evangelism and Outreach, Justice and Care and Teaching and Nurture, with two people representing each of the core areas (eight in total).  In addition there are a number of ex officio members of the Ministry Team, including Phill as Curate, Penny as Reader and myself as Vicar.  In addition one of the Wardens usually attends the Ministry Team meetings. 

The Ministry Team exists, not to do all the work within the life of the church, but to equip, encourage and enable each one of us in our own individual ministry and calling.  Every month the Ministry Team meets to pray together for the life of the church, and to discuss issues that relate the four core areas of evangelism and outreach, justice and care, teaching and nurture, and prayer and worship. 

Having worked alongside the Ministry Team for the past five years, I have seen at first hand the really important role the Ministry Team has in building and growing St Martin’s, and in giving good spiritual leadership.  St Martin’s is growing, and God is doing great things in the life of this church, and I believe a large part of this is down to the work of the Ministry Team.  For example, two key areas of growth are Messy Church and St Martin’s CafĂ©.  Both these initiatives were first discussed and prayed about within the Ministry Team, and members of the MT have taken a leading role developing these initiatives and encouraging and enabling others within the church to be involved with these projects.

We will be starting a calling out process later this month to fill a number of vacancies on the MT, and also to hopefully call out someone to train as a Reader.  Please start praying for this calling out process, that God will place on your heart the right people will be found for this important role within the church. We are not looking for perfect people, but people who have a heart for God and his people; people who are committed to working as part of a team, and who are open to God’s Holy Spirit.  As you pray about this process, pray that God may be preparing the hearts of those he is going to call out from the congregation to serve him in this way.  Please also pray for the existing members of the MT, and all they do within the life of St Martin’s.

And if you are one of the people who is called out, don’t just dismiss it, and say I don’t have what it takes, or you’re too busy, be open to the fact that God may be calling you into a new ministry within the life of his church. 


I started today’s sermon, by talking about the fact that as Christians we are all called to serve Christ, but we are not in this alone, we have one another.

I want to finish with a lesson from the natural world, which can teach us a lot about teamwork and supporting one another.  Most of us have probably seen Geese flying in giant V formations, but have you ever wondered why they do this? 

As each goose flaps its wings it creates an “uplift” for the birds that follow. By flying in a “V” formation, the whole flock adds 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew alone.
Lesson: We achieve much more, when we work together, and support one another. 

When the lead bird gets tired it will rotate to the back in order to rest and another bird will take its place.
Lesson: It is wise to share the difficult work and leadership responsibilities. Like geese we are dependant on each other’s abilities, capacities, gifts and talents.

The geese at the back of the formation “honk” encouragement to the birds in the front to help them keep a flying rhythm.
Lesson: Let’s be sure that our “shouts” are ones of encouragement. Any group becomes more productive when there is encouragement.

When one goose is sick or wounded and falls out of formation, two others stay with it in order to protect it. They remain until the sick bird is ready to rejoin the flock. 
Lesson: Like geese let us stay close to one another in both difficult and good times.

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