Church Member, You are Qualified

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I’m no doctor. But as the woman in my local YMCA slumped forward into her workout equipment, I could tell she needed one. I scanned the room, desperate for someone—other than me—to notice and help her.

Soon enough, a personal trainer jogged toward her, and I breathed a sigh of relief. This guy trains people’s bodies for a living. Surely, he would know what to do. I could leave the professionals in charge and go back to minding my own business.

But then he precariously propped the woman up in a high chair in exactly the position I knew he shouldn’t. My heart sank as I watched her melt towards the tile floor. With no other options available, I reflexively rushed to catch her fall.

Like it or not, I was involved. So, I offered what I knew, and we worked together to get this woman back to health.

I often feel unqualified…

This hesitant feeling isn’t new to me. Because of my laundry list of excuses, I often wait for someone else to step up and meet the needs I’ve already noticed around me. Even with years of helpful experience, I’m still inclined to “scan the room” looking for someone else more qualified to serve and lead.

When it comes to the Great Commission, this inclination can cripple me from doing the good work God is calling me to do. When we spend too much time waiting for pastors, missions pastors, or other church leaders to take charge, we miss the work that the Holy Spirit can and will do in the lives of ordinary believers. When we place too much emphasis on our own abilities, we forget that God is doing the work.

When I look at Scripture, I know I’m in good company with my hesitations. The Bible is full of leaders who hid, made excuses, and otherwise shirked the responsibilities God had called, prepared, and equipped them to do.

Church, let’s not make the same mistake.

But God has qualified me.

When I look at my own ministry experience, I see how God set me in the right place at the right time. He’s given me specific passions, experiences, knowledge, and skills he can use. He pushes me into ministry, even—sometimes especially—when it’s out of my comfort zone.

All I have to do is be faithful where I am, and he always gives me what I need. Dying to self doesn’t mean I disappear. On the contrary, it means I do the good God has set before me as the person he has redeemed me to be.

And God has qualified you.

So, church member, don’t wait for someone to legitimize the good work God is moving you to do. Do you see a need that your church ministries overlook? Do you wish your church did a better job at reaching the schools in your area with the gospel? Doing Evangelism Trainings? Sharing with internationals in your area? Talk with your missions pastor about how to get started.

Ask your missions pastor to help you spread the word and gather people to pray, learn about, and get involved in this specific ministry. The job of church leaders is to prepare and equip you to do ministry in your context, and good pastors and missions pastors love doing that work.

Church member, your church needs you. Don’t stand on the sidelines of the Great Commission. The task is too large and urgent for you not to be involved.

Where do we start?

Want to start the conversation at your church? Here are a few tips.

1. Pray for your church and its leaders

Ministry is hard work, and church leaders may feel discouraged by the overwhelming task of engaging and discipling your whole community. Starting the conversation about new kinds of ministry might feel like you’re adding one more thing to their plate. Pray for a spirit of unity as you point out ministry gaps and suggest new ways to love and serve.

“Then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.” Philippians 2:2

2. Pray for humility and discernment

If you have a specific kind of ministry on your heart, you’ll need humility and discernment to lead it well. Don’t let your passion make you unkind as you talk about what needs to be done. If God wants his people involved in missions or a specific kind of ministry, he will make it happen.

If and when God starts to move in your church or community, pray that he gives you discernment for how to proceed. Pray he would give you a Christlike heart of service and love.

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus…” Philippians 2:3-5

3. Gather a team

When the time comes to start the work, gather a team of people who can labor with you. Just as your pastor or missions pastor can’t do all the ministry of your church, neither can you.

Consider not only what gifts you might have to offer but also your deficiencies. If you have tons of Muslim friends but don’t know how to share the gospel with them, find someone who understands cross-cultural engagement. Enlist a prayer warrior who will pray as you share the gospel. Find Muslim background believers who could offer their perspectives and assistance.

God’s people are meant to do the work together.

“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” Philippians 2:12

4. Do good, and give God the glory

No matter what happens, remember missions and ministry is God’s work. Whether or not you have a lot of visible fruit, trust that God is moving.

Connect with other churches in your area doing similar kinds of Great Commission work. Celebrate every step someone takes toward Christ, and lean on him when the work inevitably gets hard.

“For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” Philippians 2:13

Church member, your church needs you. Don’t stand on the sidelines of the Great Commission. The task is too large and urgent for you not to be involved.

A version of this article was originally posted on

  • Calling
  • Great Commission
Marie Burrus

Marie Burrus is Communications Specialist at the Union Baptist Association. She manages, edits, and contributes content for their website and social media outlets. Marie uses her Master's degree in Intercultural Studies and experience as a missionary in Burkina Faso to write on missions, outreach, culture, and the Christian life.

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