The Ministry of All Believers | UMC YoungPeople
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September 2017

The Ministry of All Believers

By Jeremy Steele

Far too often people assume that “calling” is something just for people who want to be called “Reverend” one day. This lesson from the Explore Calling Church-Wide Resource will help students discover the ministry of all believers!


Take a moment to go around the group and share your name, grade and at least two of these:

  • The name of your favorite movie
  • The biggest talent of your best friend
  • Something you have done with someone else that you couldn’t have done by yourself
  • Your best subject in school

Group Crest

We are going to get creative! A long time ago families would have shields designed for them that had symbols on them that described their family attributes or history. We are going to do that as a group. Your first act will be to divide the work according to who is best at these different tasks.

  1. The Supervisor: This person make sure you stay on task and move through the project and complete it on time. They are organized and good at paying attention.
  2. The Sketch Artist: This person (or people) will draw the basic outline of the symbols. They are creative and good at drawing.
  3. The Calligrapher: This person will be responsible for adding your team name to the crest. They have good handwriting.
  4. The Colorist: This person (or people) will fill the drawing with color. They are good at spotting colors that go well together.
  5. The Idea Person: This person will continue to give ideas and input along the way. They are good at coming up with ways to improve things.

From this point forward, you have ten minutes. The Supervisor can keep you on task. Once you have assigned the duties, you need to come up with answers to the following questions:

  • Decide on one drawable attribute about each person’s personality, interests or abilities.
  • Decide on a team name that seems to describe you.

Then, its time for the sketch artist(s) to start on the outline. They will need to work fast so that the calligrapher and colorist can complete their jobs!

The Job of All Christians

A lot of Christians have a BIG misunderstanding when it comes to the idea of calling. A bunch of people think that God only calls people who are going to spend their lives as professional ministers. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Jesus lives his entire life, dies, is raised from the dead and is just about return to heaven when he does something powerful. He takes the eleven disciples up to the top of a mountain and gives them a big job.

Read Matthew 28:19-20

If we aren’t careful we will read that and think that Jesus is hiring the first set of full-time pastors. That is not what is going on. In fact, we have examples of these early disciples not leaving their day jobs. Jesus is doing something much bigger.

Read 1 Peter 2:9

Re-read that passage as if it was written to you specifically. Substitute your name wherever you see “you.” This is the big idea: God calls every Christian to ministry. That’s right. Every Christian. You are a minister!

What emotions do you sense when you hear or read that?

Saying that someone is “called to ministry” has a bunch of implications. What comes to your mind when you hear that someone is “called to ministry?”

What part of your idea of being called to ministry makes sense when we say every Christian is called to ministry?

Let’s take a look at another scripture in hopes of clarifying the calling of everyone.

Read Romans 12:3-8

This passage gives us a lot to discuss.

When have you seen someone “thinking too highly of themselves” backfire and mess things up?

What does “sober judgment” mean?

What makes it hard to look at yourself with “sober judgment?”

What kinds of things can you do (or what kind of people can you get to help) to make it easier to look at yourself with “sober judgment?”

The sober judgment in this passage has a very useful outcome. By the end of the passage the writer makes a list. It begins with a gift and then offers an action based on that gift. Look back on the passage and name one of those gift/action pairs.

This is one of the most incredible parts of being a Christian. It’s almost like God gives us a crest of who God wants us to be. God gives us passions and gifts that on one hand will allow us to have many, interesting careers, AND God calls us to use those gifts in accordance with our faith.

What Kinds of gifts do you see in the others in your group?

That means that not only does God call and empower every person, God takes every career and transforms it into ministry.

My Discernment

Now, take a moment and (with sober judgment) come up with two of your gifts. When you have them, fill out this instruction based on Romans 12:


Gift #1:

____Jeremy_____ (your name), if you have the gift of ______Teaching___________ (your gift) then __________Teach_________ (Action version of your gift) according with your faith.

Gift #1:

____________________ (your name), if you have the gift of ___________________________ (your gift) then _________________________ (Action version of your gift) according with your faith.

Gift #2:

____________________ (your name), if you have the gift of ___________________________ (your gift) then _________________________ (Action version of your gift) according with your faith.

Putting it this way it becomes quite clear that not every gift you may have is the same thing as a career. However some of them could be tied to a career. Take time this week to think about your gifts and how God may be speaking through them to call you into a particular career.

If you have a career in mind, begin to ask God to show you how you could minster through that career.

When he's not playing with his four children with his wonderful wife, Jeremy is the associate pastor at Los Altos UMC in Los Altos, CA. Jeremy has spent over twenty years working in youth and children's ministry and continues to train children and youth workers as well as writing and speaking extensively in that field. His most recent book is the "All the Best Questions." You can find a list of all his books, articles, and resources for churches at