Book Release: Every Believer: God’s Calling and Gifting for Ministry
Interview by V. Michelle Bernard
In his latest book, Monte Sahlin, who just retired as Ohio Conference’s director for research and special projects, offers a Bible study guide with discussion questions to help all believers discover their gifts and empower them to serve.
Here is what he says readers can gain from the book:
Why is it important for all believers to get involved in ministry?
Becausethe way in which we relate to God and the Holy Spirit, particularly according to Ephesians 4, is by doing ministry. We do not relate to God by sitting and listening. We relate to God by doing. That is the nature of humanity as God created it. If you don’t find some way to act out your faith, it is not genuine in your own eyes, the eyes of others or in God’s eyes.
Why do many people have a hard time finding the right fit for their gifts in their local churches?
Primarily because churches tend to operate traditional programs rather than help people understand how to find their gifts and launch ministries based on the gifts they have. Programs become dated and ineffective. We’re still going through the rituals. It becomes “make work” and people don’t see how it is related to life. It is hard to discern God’s call in it—mainly because it isn’t there. He isn’t calling them to go through traditional routines. God is calling them to do something fresh and creative and new.
How does this book help people find their ministry niche?
It helps in four ways:
- It helps them understand the biblical framework for how they can have a productive Christian life and be an effective church member.
- It includes an instrument that has been field tested and statistically validated to understand themselves, their own abilities and how that relates to ministries.
- It has specific suggestions on how to relate to various church programs and find a satisfying role.
- It has information about how to start new ministries.
What is “consumer religion” and how can we avoid it in our lives/churches?
Consumer religion means a people who go to church and expect their needs to be met in the way they would at the grocery store. We don’t go to the grocery store to meet friends, to meet the needs of the community, but to just buy groceries. Increasingly, in America, people go to church with the same attitude, “I put my money in, I expect it to be the type of worship I want, I don’t have time to serve, etc.”
Through this book, I want to make sure people know the only way to have a really dynamic living relationship with God is by serving. If they are not doing something to implement God’s will in the world, something unselfish, then their relationship with God is going to die.
To purchase a copy of the guide, visit http://www.adventsource.org/as30/store-productDetails.aspx?ID=37760.