Jesus works through the church, the body of Christ. Like a body, the church has many members who are one. Through the Holy Spirit, Jesus says we will do greater works than he did—not in kind, but in number. The church needs people like you, and unlike you. No one can say to another, “I have no need of you.” There is unity, but not uniformity; there is diversity, but there need not be division. Which part of this body are you? Where will you serve?
On Jokes, Nachos, and Diversity in the Church
God decided where you would fit, and here’s why: because you’re needed. We need people like you. Do you know what someone with five heads is? A monster. You don’t need five heads. That’s a lot of hats, all the money for haircuts, let alone the product. It’s very—you need one head. You need two hands. You need two feet. God put your physical body together perfectly. He knew what he was doing arranging all the parts. So it is with our church body. He gave you gifts and abilities, he gave them gifts and abilities, he arranged it all together. Some of you wonder why you’re here.
Let me say this: some of you are going to walk into Mars Hill Church and get really frustrated. You say, “Man, they really stink at this,” whatever “this” is, and the list is long, so there’s a whole bunch of things that it could be. What that may be is you understanding and seeing that there is a deficit in the church body, and the reason you see it is because that’s your part. And rather than getting frustrated, help. Rather than criticizing, right, yelling at all the ears, “Hey, there’s no nose here!” Well, you’re here. You can now smell that it stinks. Help us. Help us fix this problem.
The difference is this: you can come in with the attitude of a critic or a servant, and a critic and a servant, they see the same hole in a church, and they just respond differently. The critic sort of gets frustrated that someone isn’t like them, fixing it, and the servant says, “That must be why I’m here.” You see the difference? What he’s saying is, you’re needed. We need people like you and we need people unlike you, and you need people unlike you.
Prophets, Priests, and Kings
Now, let me say this: we like to talk about at Mars Hill Church basically three categories of gifts, or abilities, or ways that people are hardwired. We talk about prophets, priests, and kings. Let me give you a really practical application of this analogy. Jesus comes as prophet, priest, and king. Classic, historic, biblical Protestant theology.
As a prophet, he preaches and teaches. He rebukes error and sin. He corrects heresy. He protects us from wolves who would lead us astray. As a priest, Jesus loves us and he prays for us, and he intercedes for us, and he comforts us, and he’s patient, and long-suffering, and enduring with us. And as a king, he distributes leaders, and gifts, and stewards dollars, and he advances and expands his kingdom, and he cares a lot about stewardship and the good use of all the resources entrusted to the church. [. . .]
How many of you are more priests? You say, “You know what, I’m going to evaluate the health, strength, and well-being of Mars Hill Church based upon love and care.” Do we have Community Groups where people are doing life together, praying for one another, serving one another, on mission to their community? Are we doing service projects to help the poor, the widow, the orphan, the needy? Do we care about single moms? Do we care about those caught in the sex trade? Do we care about sexual assault victims? What’s going on at Redemption Groups? Do we really care about those who are sinned against or stuck in sin, or those who have been assaulted or addicted? Are we really helping hurting people or is this just a big show?
For those of you who are kings, you’re going to look at our budgets and spreadsheets. You’re going to look at our real estate and our technology. You’re going to ask questions like: if I give to this church, are they stewarding resources well? Are they trustworthy? Are they wasting money and wasting opportunity or are they maximizing the resources that God has given them? Do they hire the best people? Do they use the best technology? Do they try to make every dollar count and are they maximizing the resources that God has given them?
Here’s my question to you: which one counts? Answer: they’re all very important. We want to be biblical, loving, and effective. Biblical, loving, and effective.
Serving Is Awesome
We’re talking about serving Jesus because he served us. We’re talking about serving Jesus because he continues to serve us. Jesus comes and he serves people. He feeds them, he prays for them. He does the prophetic work of preaching and teaching, he does the priestly work of loving and encouraging, he does the kingly work of raising up leaders and commissioning them out to be good stewards of the resources of the kingdom of God.
And then Jesus goes to the cross, and he suffers and dies in our place for our sins, and he serves us. And he rises to take away sin and give us righteousness, and to impart to us the Holy Spirit, and he keeps serving us.
And when we’re serving, we’re serving the God who served us. We’re serving the God who continues to serve us.