Jesus often met with ordinary, often poor and uneducated, people. He valued them, loved them despite their sin and understood their deepest needs and longings. Even more amazing is that he trusted them, and others like them, to do his work. Nothing has changed in over 2,000 years. Jesus still trusts us to do his work, despite all our failings. Knowing how much we are loved, valued and trusted by him should transform the way we look at ourselves and those around us.

The church’s role is to continue Jesus’ work in preaching the gospel message, teaching biblical understanding and carrying out social action. Jesus is still present with us in the power of the Holy Spirit. The church has a crucial role to play. We are God’s development workers as he brings blessing to a needy world through us.

Though the church is made up of individuals who can help poor and needy people in different ways, it is much more effective when it acts as a body, combining and valuing the different gifts of members. The church is unique in its ability to influence society and help people who are poor. Church leaders can speak out and challenge the rich and powerful. In many countries, local churches provide a trusted network reaching into almost every community.

Discussion 
  • Which needs could our church help to meet, both among our members and in the wider community?
  • Do all members of our church feel equally valued and welcomed? If not, why not? How could this be changed?
  • Read 1 Corinthians 12:4-30
    • Which part of the body does each of us feel we are like? Why is this?
    • How does the body work most effectively? What does this mean in the life of our church?
    • What lessons can we learn from this Bible passage?
  • Try this useful practical exercise during a church meeting. Ask people to stand as they hear an activity which they can help with. Ask the following questions:
    • Who is good at digging?
    • Who is good at talking to people?
    • Who is good at cooking?
    • Who is good at carrying heavy loads?
    • Who is good at house building or repairing?

Make sure the list of questions will include skills that everyone present can help with. Remind people that we all have useful skills we can use to help others.

  • How does our church build up confidence and skills among our members? How could this be done more effectively?