Let's consider our own bodies for a moment. We move our fingers, scratch our knees, breathe in through our noses, wiggle our toes, etc. All of these simple coordinated actions originate from a desire within our own heads to accomplish something. That's how our bodies work and how things should work between Christ our head, and the church his body.
So how should we as the church function like a body? Take a look at 1 Corinthians 14:26
How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.
But is this the Lord's perspective? The more I study and experience myself, the more I see that God's plan is full body ministry and participation! Let's look at 3 key ingredients to the verse above:
1. Every one of you.
Most churches are organized around a pastor and his sermon week after week. According to the Bible however, the head of the church is Christ and all of us are to serve and edify one another. That doesn't mean the church is without leadership, but rather, elders are to lead by example and encourage the church to function as a body. If we want to use every member of our own bodies, isn't it reasonable to assume that Christ wants to use all of his body? We should all take part in teaching, singing, sharing, and exercising the gifts God has given to us - not just a select few. Every one of us should participate...
For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. (Romans 12:4-5)
Have you ever thought because you're not a good speaker or preacher, that you're not qualified to share anything in the church? Since you can't sing like Sister So Ann So, you shouldn't sing? If so, where did those ideas come from? They didn't come from God! Let us never confuse talent with usefulness; For God is more apt to use a willing vessel than a talented one.
We should respect and make room for each other's gifting. According to the verse above, preaching and singing are only two of the many ways we can bless others. Ever been blessed by a friend's testimony of answered prayer? Have you ever been overwhelmed by a message in tongues and the interpretation that was just for you? God gave many gifts to his church and he desires and expects them to be used for His glory and for our edification.
And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. (Hebrews 10:24-25)
To edify is to literally “build.” We are to “build” each other up. To instruct and improve the mind in knowledge generally, and particularly in moral and religious knowledge, in faith and holiness.
There are probably a dozen ways we can and should minister to each other when we gather together as a church. In fact, we have a responsibility to edify each other as our head (Christ) dictates. We are to help each other be salt and light in a dark world - not for personal glory, but for the glory of God and the edifying of the whole church. God designed us all with purpose. That purpose is more than keeping a pew warm.
Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church. (1 Corinthians 14:12)