“Cultivating Ministry”
Ephesians 4:11-12
January 17, 2016

We live in an entertainment culture.

We go to the gym to exercise, step on a treadmill and have a TV screen facing us to watch. But most don’t watch – they have their own private entertainment in their own headphones. Or perhaps you prefer an aerobics class — so you exercise there to the loud beat of the instructor’s favorite “get up and go” music.

The average person watches four hours of television per day (28 hours per week). In addition to that, the average person spends 17 hours per week surfing the Internet. Together that’s a full-time job — a full-time job being entertained.

I have an iPhone — when I checked on Friday it had 2039 songs on it, 1916 photos, 108 apps, and 11 audio books. And I have access to my entire Kindle library on that phone, though currently I only have 41 books downloaded on my phone. I think I might have an electronics addiction. I have an iPhone, an iPod, two kindles, two computers — and a laptop — seven email addresses (I think), three blog sites (only one active), Instagram, Facebook, Twitter (and I’m responsible for a Facebook and Twitter account for the church also), two TVs, Netflix, and Amazon Prime. Won’t someone please help me? Oh, you can’t because you have the same stuff, don’t you?!

Five years ago, the average teenager used to send and receive about 3000 texts per month, and that appears to be down to about 1,000 per month (30 per day). However, the typical teen is also tweeting, facebooking, and snap chatting. And they own additional messaging apps like Kik, GroupMe, and WhatsApp. So don’t worry that our teens are communicating less than they used to — they are still plugged into their electronics.

We believe in discretionary time, recreational vehicles and increasingly larger flat screen televisions. In 2004, Americans spent more than $700 billion on recreational products and services — more than the entire Gross National Product of Canada! In Century of the Leisured Masses, author David Surdam demonstrates that in the 100 years from 1909 to 2008, spending on the basics of life (food and housing) decreased from ~58% to ~25%. But expenditures on recreation more than tripled (from 3% to over 9%).

And this mindset has infiltrated the church as well. Now people often select a church not on Biblical criteria but on entertainment value — so sermons are replaced by drama, dance, musical productions, and video clips. People are tempted to go to church to be entertained rather than be the church and serve one another. At GBC, we want to be different.

One of the core values of GBC is: “we believe in every member ministry.” Every member of the church body is a minister, gifted by God and equipped by the church to serve in the church for the glory of God. And that truth is found in the passage before us this morning, Ephesians 4:11-16. If I can give you the theme of this passage in a few words, it is this —

God’s plan is to build His church through all His gifted people.

The church is not a place for “professionals,” “professionalism,” or “entertainment.” It is a place where all God’s people gather to exercise their gifts towards each other for the benefit of each other.

In this passage, we will discover five characteristics of God’s plan for the church that should shape and direct all our activities in the church.

  1. We are Built on the Foundation of the Gospel and Scripture (v. 11a)
  2. We are being Built by the Gospel and Scripture (v. 11b)
  3. We are All either Equipping or Being Equipped (v. 12a)
  4. We are All Serving in the Work of Christ (v. 12b)
  5. We are All being Built Together into One Body (v. 12c)

Download the rest of this sermon from Ephesians 4:11-12.

The audio will be posted on the GBC website later today.