I know of two ways to further the kingdom of God here on earth.
The first way the kingdom comes is through organized ministry. One of the functions of a Church is to help organize people for maximum impact. We have a building which allows ministry to happen. We have put together programs to teach kids, influence teens, train adults, and serve in a several ways. The Church is here to help make ministry easier on everyone. Together as a group of people, we can do more than we could as individuals.
This means the Church needs people with particular gifts to use those gifts in ministry. Those who love children can find a place to serve lots of kids at one time in the Church. Someone with gifts of music can use that gift to lead hundreds of people in worship. Your gifts and abilities are needed to make a big impact through the ministries we organize.
The second way the kingdom comes is through unorganized ministry. This occurs when individual Christians take their gifts with them into the world. It happens one on one in hundreds of places at the same time. You can take the time to listen to the troubled kid in the lobby during the ball game. Your family can invite him into your home and share the love of Christ through your help and concern. These are unplanned moments when God puts things together as only he is able.
This means that Christians need to keep their eyes open for those God ordained appointments for ministry. You need to be available to use your gifts at unknown moments whenever they occur. Today could bring opportunities for you make an impact for his kingdom.
The interesting things are that neither of these two things should stand on their own. Serving in the Church will have limited impact if you are not willing to minister outside of Sunday morning. You will undermine your goodwill on Sunday if you have a negative attitude through the week. The other side is also true. If you try to make a difference one day at a time all by yourself, you will have an impact on a few people but miss thousands. The organized ministry of the Church will increase your influence by multiplying your gifts.
Believers are called to a life of service for the kingdom of God. If you are not involved in an organized ministry within the Church, you are missing the power of a working together. If you are only serving within the Church, you are missing the day-to-day chances to shine your unique light wherever you go.
If you are missing one of these areas, then you have two options. One is to “sign up” to be a part of something bigger. The other is to “open up” your eyes and your heart to the opportunities that lie around you.
All of us serving individually and together will help to bring God’s goodness into the world.