(Article reposted by permission from the Blog of Bishop J. Mark Jordan)
From the department of practicality, we need to address this question: Who are the people most likely to be used in church services? Do pastors, music directors and ministry leaders have favorites or do they apply certain rules of usability to everyone? Should those who sing, play or speak better than others be used without regard to anything else? Generally speaking, those who choose participants for worship services or ministries operate on a set of criteria that is the same for everybody. If you want to be used, you should prepare to pass the usability test.
Do you have the ability? Let’s face it: if you have little or no talent or innate ability for music, teaching, leadership or whatever traits are necessary for a given ministry, give it up. Don’t make yourself and everyone else miserable by pretending to have some ability when you really don’t. If you are being used and someone comes along who has more ability than you, gladly and graciously surrender your position for the good of the whole church.
Do you have the time? If you have a sporadic work schedule or are faced with some other situation you can’t control, then availability may pose a problem for you. Anyone who professes to have a ministry must make it a priority. That means you must sacrifice other activities you would like to do because of a ministry you are called to do. If ministry is truly a priority for you, then it is up to you to make yourself available.
Do you have the commitment? Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful (1 Corinthians 4:2). Once you make a commitment to do ministry, your faithful execution of the task becomes paramount. Most leaders will tell you that nothing is more important than faithfulness. If you are asked to do something two or three times but fail to show up, you probably won’t be asked again.
Do you have the temperament? Anyone who possesses a great desire to do something should also want to continually improve. This calls for an openness to be coached, corrected, calibrated and changed in accordance with the leader or director who is in charge. Even if you don’t totally agree with his or her style, your willingness to adapt has a great deal to do with your usability. Every practice or training session must not turn into a tension-filled ordeal simply because you are not teachable. To be effective in your performance, you must get on the same page as the leader.
Do you have the character? Having the ability and showing up on time at each practice or performance constitutes only part of the usability profile. Basic Christian standards of character and behavior are absolute requirements.
Do you have the attitude? Those involved in ministry must often work together with other people to get the job done. You must be able to cooperate with others without insisting on having your own way all the time, being jealous or stubborn, or allowing or a competitive nature to dominate your attitude.
Do you have the spirituality? Possibility has a direct correlation to faith in God. Jesus said, With God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26). Without being saturated with God’s power, ministry can become a matter of technicalities or carnal considerations. But the anointing of the Holy Spirit is far more meaningful than anything we can do. We ought to do everything in our power to make things excellent. At this point, however, the spiritual possibilities through faith in God take our ministry into the dimension of God’s power.
Leaders sometimes have to make hard choices. They have to consider the feelings of the people they deal with in making their decisions, and they don’t always feel comfortable explaining the real reasons behind the choices. Their job would be far easier if each prospective participant in ministry would understand this set of simple criteria. Those who don’t understand will probably always be hurt or frustrated. Those who meet each of these requirements will probably always have a place in ministry.