A recent conversation surfaced a common issue many Christians face. My friend said he struggled for years wondering if he should “go into the ministry” as a way to best live out his devotion to Christ. The interesting thing about my friend is that he does not want to work for a church. His interests and abilities are in music, not preaching or pastoring. Somewhere along the way of following Christ, he picked up the idea that going into the ministry and working for a church was the better way.
How should we think about Christian ministry? There are numerous passages in the Bible that speak to Christians doing ministry. You may want to take some time to read Romans 12:1-8, I Corinthians 12:1-26, Ephesians 4:11-12, and I Peter 4:8-11.
Here are a few points to consider as you think about Christian ministry.
Ministry is service. Ministry is not an office or position. Holding a church office or position with a title may be necessary and helpful in some ways, but that does not mean someone is actually doing ministry and serving others. The important thing is to serve people through love and good deeds.
Every Christian is called to serve and do ministry. The New Testament is clear on this point. Each person is given grace from God in the form of abilities that are to be used to serve others.
Ministry takes place in the congregation and in the world. It is important for Christians to understand that what they do in Christ’s name in the workplace and the neighborhood is a form of Christian ministry. We are the salt of the earth and the light of world. And, we serve one another in the congregation to build each other up in faith and love. We are called to serve in and outside of the church.
The congregation has recognized ministry offices and positions. Some are called to give their time and energy primarily to the church. Pastors and church staff members serve an important role in the congregation. Other volunteer positions are recognized by the congregation and needed for the church to function well.
Much of the ministry in a congregation happens among members who do not hold an office or position. Ministry happens when people pray together, speak encouraging words to each other, and serve each other with practical help. This happens every day of the week, not just on Sundays.
When each person in a congregation is using their gifts and abilities to serve, that congregation is healthy and has a collective ministry to a city and the world. In this way, every person who is connected and contributing to a congregation is doing ministry.
You, as a Christian, are “in the ministry.” Whether or not you work for a church or a Christian organization is not indicative of your level of devotion, spiritual maturity, or call to serve. The context of your ministry is determined by where and how you render service according to your abilities and opportunities. The main thing, as Paul wrote, is through love to serve one another (Galatians 5:13).
Join us Sunday as we worship the Lord and share more about our ministry together.