“Oh lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall declare your praise” (Psalm 51, verse 15)

A couple of weeks ago I watched tens of thousands of starlings flocking together,  and saw how they can represent the unity of the Body of Christ. The other evening I walked down the road and watched one starling singing from a chimney pot. It was captivating. I was actually in Spain, and I noticed how different this bird’s song was from the ones at home. Although they do have a lot of sounds in common, each starling has its unique song:  they vary according to the area they live in and what local sounds they pick up and mimic. And this one was definitely singing in Spanish!

So why starlings again? Because God is calling forth the voice of his people. Each one of us in the Body of Christ has a unique voice. A voice might be for a region or for a nation or for the church, for a workplace or the family, but it will be different from any other voice in the body; and when we open our lips and express anything that God has given us with the voice that is our own, it is to the praise of His glory.

However many of Gods starlings are not opening their lips. They may have been saved for years, yet they still don’t know what their voice is – they literally don’t know the sound of it. And yet the Lord wants an expressive people, a church who will declare His word, minister His truth, share His love, and praise His name. Jesus sent us all to preach the gospel. Most of the gifts of the Spirit needs to be put into words. God is a verbal God, and he wants a verbal people. A verbal people is a powerful people.

This is where the five-fold ministries come in. Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers are people who have found their voice. God has given these gifts to the church to “equip the saints for the work of ministry, for the building up of the body of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:12)  1 Corinthians 14:26 says “each one has a hymn, a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church is built up.”  Paul writes to the Romans: “Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.” One of the main goals of the church that we find in the New Testament is the edification (building up) of disciples so that they can come to maturity.

But over the centuries, the enemy has silenced the voices of God’s people and the church has not been built up the way that God intends. Whether we operate in a five-fold ministry or not, we need to help His starlings to find their voices, however we can, whenever and wherever we can. We need to equip the saints for works of ministry so that the whole flock is opening its lips and declaring the praises of God, and we need to share this vision with everyone we can. There are many church leaders that need to hear this message: it won’t always be received, particularly if religious or other controlling spirits are over the church, but it must be spoken.

Finally,  we must never stop listening to the starlings, because we are only starlings ourselves. And when everyone has found their voice, the whole church is built up. What is the result? Ephesians 4:13 tells us clearly: “We all come to the unity of faith and to the knowledge of the son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.

Once that has been achieved, the bride is ready for the groom.

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