At Forest Brook, we strongly encourage people who consider this their church home to get involved. One of our highst values is "Every Member Ministry". We believe that every person who is called by God had unique gifts given to them which they are meant to use in helping the church fulfill its purpose in the world.
Every Member Ministry is a biblical idea! It is how the early church operated and was organized. This idea comes to us from the pages of the book of Acts and is taught in the letters of Paul and Peter. Essentially, it is the conviction that the church is a group of people who are using their God-given gifts to serve God and others, in faithful response to their salvation by Jesus Christ (1 Peter 4:10).
Author Greg Ogden says that “the church is fundamentally a charismatic community, for the charismata (grace-gifts) have been distributed and assigned to all those in Christ (1 Corinthians 12:11,18). In other words, God has called and gifted everyone who belongs to him with divinely given purpose, passion and abilities to make a contribution toward the work of the church as a whole. This approach stands in stark contrast to the typical church-member’s view of the pastoral staff as the employees hired to do the work of ministry on behalf of the church. In EMM, every Christian is a minister who is called, gifted and commissioned to help advance the kingdom of God on earth.
Christian theologian J.I. Packer puts it this way, “Our exercise of spiritual gifts is nothing more or less than Christ himself ministering through his body to his body, to the Father, and to all mankind. From heaven Christ uses Christians as his mouth, his hands, his feet, even his smile; it is through us, his people, that he speaks and acts, meets and loves, and saves here and now in this world” (Keep in Step with the Spirit).
We often start out as enthusiastic helpers willing to jump in wherever we are needed in the church. We may volunteer to fill a hole in Children’s Ministry, sign up to participate in a Community Outreach Day, or help prepare a Newcomers’ event. All of these service opportunities are valuable and needed in the church. But this is not necessarily EMM in action. We see that when everyone services out of an understanding of their own giftedness, along with a sense of personal purpose in the way they choose to serve with those gifts. EMM should be thought of in terms of “every person, using his or her God-given gifts, to fulfill God’s purposes in the world, in the service of Jesus Christ”.