Equipping the Saints for the Work of Ministry

Written by Maggie Halstead

Jesus has laid out the perfect example of what it means to serve.  He was God, yet chose to humble himself for our sake.  As we study God's word, we see how Jesus poured his life out, both in his ministry and on the cross.  Paul challenges us to follow Jesus' example, to count others as more significant than ourselves (Philippians 2:3).  And what a joy it is when followers of Jesus choose to lay down their own interests for the furthering of God's kingdom.

As women, there is immeasurable value in how we can serve both in the Church and to reach this lost and broken world we live in.  As we can see from testimonies of faithful women throughout scripture, God uses people in all circumstances; all He asks of us is a willing heart.  Mary, the mother of Jesus, was a humble servant of the Lord, allowing God to use her to bless all of humanity.  Her youthfulness was not of concern in following God's life-changing will for her.  Ruth was undoubtedly faithful, both to God and to her family.  She was a woman of low standing in her culture, but it did not prevent her from serving God.  Esther was an example of courageous faith, choosing to speak boldly, risking her life instead of hiding in hopes of living comfortably.  Mary Magdalene was completely counter cultural in her devotion to Jesus, and what a testimony of a life transformed by following Jesus!  These women are all different and all extraordinary. They are examples for us that true faith does not encourage us to slink back in fear; rather, true faith commands us to willingly receive the good, often courageous works God has put before us. 

We are all called to a courageous faith, and God has given us each talents in order to bless and serve.  I believe scripture also gives evidence of taking time to get equipped to be able to live bold faith and to use our talents.  The apostles spent years with Jesus, learning from him and being prepared to serve boldly.  Many accounts in the New Testament speak of people learning directly from Paul; he often brought people with him as he went to spread the gospel.  Today, God has given responsibility to the local church to equip followers of Jesus to use their talents to serve the Church and to be sent out to fulfill the Great Commission.  And once we are equipped, we must find places to serve and use our talents so they can continue to be refined and so we can take joy in sharing the blessings God has so generously shared with us. 

There are many opportunities right here at our own church to become equipped and to refine our talents in order to better serve.  Recently, I had the opportunity to take a class taught by Pastor Jerry on How to Study the Bible.  In the class, I was challenged to learn how to dig deep into God's word on my own.  Jerry gave us multiple tools in order to be able to take a passage of scripture and pull out the key concepts, as well as be able to use that knowledge in order to speak into the lives of people around us, whether it be teaching a large group or giving counsel to a friend. 

The class encouraged not only studying scripture for my own gain, but stepping out in faith to take what I have learned to bless and serve other people.  Recently, I had the opportunity to lead a women's time for college students.  Speaking in front of people makes me quite nervous, but I made the decision to take a courageous step of faith at the prompting of the Spirit.  I took time to pray, meditate on scripture, and use the tools Jerry gave us in class, allowing me to design a time that encouraged the women to discuss God's word and allowed the opportunity for scripture to have a profound impact on their hearts.

I challenge you to consider taking time to explore your talents.  Take time to get equipped in using your talents.  Take time to use your talents to serve the Church and to reach the lost.  The eternal reward will be well worth your investment. Whether you are old or young, married or single, outgoing or more reserved, there is a place for you to serve in God's Kingdom. God is asking you to let go of your preferences for His purpose.  And what joy we will find when we hear God's call and respond, "I am the Lord's servant."

Maggie just celebrated her fifth anniversary to her dear husband, Clark.  She has two daughters, Elizabeth and Catherine, who bring so much joy and spunk into her life! Her family is on staff with Cru through PACM and she is enjoying getting more involved with the ministry. Her passions are cooking for family and friends and hiking as often as possible.  She also really enjoys talking with people-- anything from deep spiritual conversations to catching up with friends regularly as well as getting to know new friends!  


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