Every Member A Minister
Imagine every member of your church was a minister.
Don’t picture a seminary chapel or a pastors’ assembly. No, think of an ordinary church, full of ordinary Christians who are all ministers. Imagine everyone in that congregation regularly stirring up one another to good works (Heb. 10:24-25). A church where all believers—no matter their age, or education, or Bible knowledge, or Christian experience—take personal responsibility for helping those around them follow Jesus. A body of believers where each person is not only open to encouragement and admonishment by others, but actually deliberately goes out of their way to meet with others who have permission to speak into their lives.
What kind of church would that be? It might be a church growing in maturity and Christlikeness, empowered for outreach and evangelism, and freed from “programming” everything in the church! It might be a church where needs are anticipated and met well before coming to pastors’ attention! It might be a church where workers for Christ’s harvest regularly rise up, having already gained critical experience in face-to-face discipleship as ones who both helped others grow and were themselves helped to grow!
That’s what Gathering One2One is all about. It’s a discipleship project designed with the hope of fostering this kind of culture in the life of the church. It seeks to see any and every Christian believer, regardless of their maturity or learning, equipped to help others grow while being helped to grow by others. The aim is to see every member of a church taking the initiative to meet with other members, one-to-one and peer-to-peer, to minister to each other.
One-To-One Gathering In The Bible
God gathers his people by, and around, his Word. The prophet Isaiah foretold a day where God would “say to the north, ‘Give up,’ and to the south, ‘Do not withhold’” (Isa. 43:6a), commanding them to “bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth” (v. 6b). Isaiah merely echoed God’s words to Moses in Deuteronomy 4:10, where Moses recounts that “the LORD said to me, ‘Gather the people to me, that I may let them hear my words…” This is why, in the New Testament church, pastors are commanded to “preach the Word” (2 Tim. 4:2) and to “devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture” (1 Tim. 4:13). There is nothing more vital to the Christian life than gathering as God’s people around the public preaching of God’s Word. That’s where discipleship begins. That’s where the saints are equipped for ministry.
Gathering God’s people around God’s Word doesn’t only happen when the church meets as a whole body. The Bible shows how Christians who are already equipped by good preaching can extend this gathering ministry to a one-to-one (or a one-to-one-to-one “triad”) context. Think of the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8. God sent Philip to do one-to-one Bible reading with this high foreign court official! The Holy Spirit gathered two men around God’s Word, and the result was a growing disciple of Jesus. This Philip, who God used for this face-to-face ministry, was not an apostle, or pastor, or elder. In fact, his job in the church had been to do other tasks to free up the apostles for Word ministry and prayer (Acts 6:1-6)! But he didn’t need to be a pastor for God to bless this one-to-one Bible reading for his glory.
Another example of such “smaller-than-small-group” ministry is found in Acts 18:24-26. A sharp young Bible student named Apollos comes to Ephesus preaching about Jesus, but isn’t fully up to date (18:25). So Paul’s friends, the couple Priscilla and Aquila, take him aside and correct him gently (v. 26). What kind of ministry was this? This wasn’t a pastoral correction; Priscilla, as a woman, wasn’t a pastor or elder (cf. 1 Tim. 2:12). No, this too was ordinary believer-to-believer ministry around the Gospel, the Word of God. Both these examples show that “ordinary” Christians—regular church members—have a vital and powerful ministry to one another when they gather one-to-one around God’s Word.
Here at GatheringOne2One.com, we’ll answer a few questions about this kind of ministry:
- Why this approach?
- Can I do it?
- Who should I meet with?
- How do I start?
- What should we do when we meet for sermon application, or prayer, or Bible reading?
Read on and find out!