When confronted with the word ‘ministry’, how many have this response: “It’s something the vicar/pastor/priest does, not me.” Well, the first part is correct, but the second part isn’t! Ministry isn’t something that should be left to the paid professional or the exceptionally talented/interested. Of course, some people are especially gifted and passionate for a particular project, and they have the get up and go to do it. But that doesn’t let the rest of us off the hook. While ‘ministry’ is a special thing, it is also an everyday thing. As its most basic, ‘ministry’ is ‘service’. And that is something we can all do. ‘Ministry’ is using whatever Yahweh has given you to serve Him and the needs of others.
There are three focal points for ministry:
Humans are made up of body, soul and spirit. Whether real or perceived there seems to have been a tendency for particular types of Christians to focus on one area to the exclusive of the others. Some were seen as wanting to cater only for the needs of the body, focussing on social justice and reforming the structures of society to end oppression and injustice. Some were seen to care only about saving souls, getting people to say a salvation prayer so they could get to heaven, which is all that matters. Whether these stereotypes are true or not, the reality is that both are needed and both are in the gospels. We must minister to the whole person. And this won’t reach its potential if limited to a few full time ministers.
Matthew 25:35-36; 40
“I was hungry and you fed me, thirsty and you gave me drink. I needed clothes and you clothed me, sick and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me. Whenever you have done this to the least person, you did it to me.”
Yahshua said, in effect, that whenever you do something kind for another person in His name it’s as if you’re doing it directly for Him. This is a necessary and legitimate ministry. Ministries should exist in our churches that simply take care of physical needs - hunger, clothing, food, etc.
1 Thessalonians 5:14
“Warn the idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with all.”
People have different kinds of mental/emotional needs and the Bible shows it will need different kinds of response in a fulfilment of ministry. Whether you minister a word of counsel, encouragement or comfort it is all ministry.
2 Corinthians 5:18
“Yahweh reconciled us to himself through Yahshua and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.”
The word ‘reconciliation’ describes taking two divided parties and making peace between them. Yahshua made it possible for us to have peace with Yahweh by His death on the cross and we, as believers, have the only message that can make this happen.
This is a very brief overview – perhaps you could think of these areas and ask yourself what you could do to help in any or all of them? See what’s happening in your church and join in. And if you have an idea for a ministry that isn’t yet happening, speak to your elders to see if you can make it happen.
For just as each of us has one body with many members...