Many years ago while working in the performing arts industry in Southern California, I had the task of interfacing our production teams with the I.A.T.S.E.—the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees. Many of the theaters in which we worked were governed by the I.A.T.S.E. employee union.
However, our own production teams were “non-union.” Our workers could do work as electricians, carpenters, audio engineers, prop masters and loaders. We were able to cross-task as the need arose—even mid-stream throughout the day.
But working in an I.A.T.S.E. facility usually meant that we had to hire more employees than usual, because if, for example, a person was hired as an electrician, he could not also be asked to do audio work. We had to hire two people instead.
“There is also the opportunity for all to be involved, for each of us to do our part.”
If I would accidentally ask an electrician to move a set piece on stage, instead of finding a carpenter, I would usually hear: “It’s not my job. Find a carpenter!”
This kind of arrangement may work in the entertainment and other industries, because it helps to avoid abuse and overworking of production crews. But should this apply in our task of preaching the gospel, making disciples and caring for those disciples?
We’re Not a “Union” Church
We do our work as a team. We can cross-task! And we can all be part of the team. We’re not a “union” church. Yes, we do have roles, jobs, abilities and organization structure in the Church, but there is also the opportunity for all to be involved, for each of us to do our part.
As the apostle Paul told the Ephesians, the whole Body of Christ is to be joined and knit together to bring about an effective work, with every part doing its share (Ephesians 4:16), emphasis added throughout.
“It is our job, every one of us, to be involved in the work of God’s Church.”
As disciples of Jesus Christ who have been taught the Word of God, we are then, as the apostle Paul told the Galatian congregation, to examine our own work and share in all the good things we have been taught (Galatians 6:4, 6).
So it falls upon each of us (not only the ministry) to “always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks [us] a reason for the hope that is in [us]” (1 Peter 3:15). We are not “ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16).
There are many things we can do as members of the United Church of God to help promote the gospel. For example, thousands of us are on social media and can share Church material with our Facebook friends. Of course we must use wisdom in what we post, and not all subjects may fit that venue. But the Church produces commentary on almost every religious, social and political subject—which draws the reader to the truth of Scripture and the message of the gospel of the Kingdom of God.
For example, I would not engage my friends on social media on subjects such as the keeping of Christmas or Easter, but I can find so many other ways to point them to the Bible on subjects that they are interested in or may be dealing with—like addictions, suicide, worry, fear, financial distress, sickness, death in the family, etc. We can provide the hope of the gospel to our friends in need, and as appropriate.
And then there are the brochures, trifolds and window clings that the home office provides to help build awareness of the truth. Our Beyond Today static window clings that go on our vehicles can quickly become a talking point with people in the supermarket parking lot, at work or at school. “What is Beyond Today?” they may ask. And then we can explain: “It’s a great Christian TV show and magazine from my Church. Google it and you will see.” This helps build a public identity and awareness of what your Church is doing!
It is our job, every one of us, to be involved in the work of God’s Church to herald “Thy Kingdom come” soon—the ultimate solution to humanity’s crisis.