Your already in Ministry
Recently I have been part of several discussions about how people could leave a well paying job to do full time ministry without getting paid for it, here are some of the things that came out of these discussions, this message wasn’t just for the people who were involved. It’s for all of us who call ourselves Christians. Especially those who, deep down, think:
I’m not a minister
Discovering and using my spiritual gifts is beyond my grasp
Ministry is primarily intended to take place for a few hours each weekend by a few highly trained professionals. Does this Sound familiar?
This kind of thinking is driven by what I call Ministry Myths, here are 4 of them to think about.
If you Google the word myth, you’ll get this definition: “a widely held, but false, idea or belief.”
Myths typically develop from stories that are told generation after generation until they’re believed, no matter how contrary to reality they might be. Sadly, generations of Christians have believed myths about ministry, even though these myths directly contradict what the New Testament authors wrote about ministry.
Myth number 1- Ministry is for leaders only
People who believe this myth think “I don’t lead worship, teach or preach, so I can’t do ministry” or “I’m not a pastor, so I’m not a minister.” For them, ministry is something that leaders, especially pastors, do. It’s not for the average Christian.
But the reality is that ministry is for every person who has come to new life in Christ. You see, ministry is just another word for service. And as servants of Christ we’re called to serve each other, our families, our friends, and even our enemies. When you serve others out of service to Christ, you’re ministering and it has nothing to do with being a leader or a pastor.
One way we know this is that when we look at the four places in the New Testament where the apostles listed various examples of spiritual gifts, they always said the same thing… every member of the Body of Christ has been given a spiritual gift.
Another way we know it is by experience. Ministry is for the purpose of expressing the love of God to build others up in their love for God and people. Isn’t it true that you’ve been built up by people in lots of ways aside from what pastors and other leaders do on the weekends?
Myth number 2- Ministry requires gifts I don’t have
People who believe this myth think, “I don’t have the spiritual gifts I need to minister” or “Ministry is only for people with certain gifts”. They would like to minister…if only they had the gifts that Jill or John had.
Two passages from Paul’s writings combine to bust this myth. Paul compared the Church to a physical body with all kinds of different parts making up one integrated whole. Some of the parts had jobs that looked really important, while others had jobs that looked less exciting, but every part was necessary for the Body to work properly. In fact, if any part stopped doing its work, then the whole Body would suffer. But if all the parts did their part, then the Body would grow up to maturity and be the glorious Church it was designed to be.
I find it interesting how we’re prone to blame the immaturity and dysfunction of the Church on all kinds of stuff, but we forget that the Church will never be what it was designed to be until every member does what it was designed to do?
Unfortunately, the ministry myth that says lots of Christians aren’t gifted to minster is powerful and has been around a long time. Paul was already fighting it when he wrote to Corinth about 20 years after Jesus left the earth. He already had to tell them that just because they don’t have the gift someone else has doesn’t mean they don’t have necessary gifts for the Body. And he had to tell those with certain gifts not to look down on those who didn’t have the same gift as them.
And 2000 years later we still have people who think they can’t minister because they’re not gifted to be a pastor, and we have a handful of pastors who think they’re the only ones who can minister.
God has not given you the gifts you need to do someone else’s ministry. But God has given you the gifts you need to do the ministry He wants you to do. So do what He’s made you to do!
Myth Number 3- Ministry only includes a few activities
At this point many of you might be feeling guilty and helpless. You’re thinking, “Okay, so I have gifts and I’m supposed to use them to minister, but I don’t know how to preach or sing, and even if I did, those slots are already filled at my church.” If this is what you’re thinking, you probably believe myth number 3.
You’d probably agree that, “Ministry is something you do on the weekends at church, not all week long” or “If I don’t lead a part of the weekly service, I can’t minister” or “Ministry is only spiritual stuff”.
This myth is tied up in the idea that there are spiritual things and secular things and God only cares about spiritual things. It comes from an old heresy that says that God is not interested in our daily physical existence of work and family and school and eating and drinking and playing and sex and everything else because God only cares about the immaterial, the unseen, the eternal, the “spiritual”.
This myth has no basis in the Bible whatsoever.
Instead, what we see in the Bible is a God who created a physical universe, put embodied creatures and humans in it, and told people to work every week, take a break at the end, get married, have kids and invest their life in caring for the world while they loved God and each other. After God designed all this he looked and it and said it was “very good”.
And you know what? Sin and death entering the picture didn’t make any of that stuff “bad”.
God still thinks that spending your week working, taking a break at the end of it, carefully managing the earth’s resources, getting married, having kids and loving God and people is very good. In fact, when you read the New Testament you’ll find that’s what God desires from us all as Christians.
Look at the practical application of Jesus and the apostles’ teachings on spirituality and holiness and righteousness. They always end up telling us to do stuff like work hard and don’t be a busybody. Live a quiet and peaceful life and pray for your leaders. Love your spouse and your kids and treat them nicely. Take care of hurting people and be kind to your enemies. Be patient, gentle, thoughtful and humble.
This doesn’t mean we have to read read Bible and pray all day. Some people think that if we were really spiritual and weren’t distracted by all this other “stuff” in life then we’d just focus on God all day long and God would be pleased with us. But that’s just not right.
God’s highest hope for you isn’t that you’d isolate yourself from the world to read your Bible and pray. God’s highest hope for you is that you’d love Him and people intictively, actively, in the context of daily life at home, work, school and play. Reading your Bible and praying are just two of myriad ways in which you can effectively express love.
Do you know that Paul told the Corinthians that whatever they do, even eating and drinking, should be done to the glory of God? Do you know he told the Colossians that whatever job they had they should do it with all their heart as service to God, recognizing that their true boss was Jesus Christ?
God is interested in every part of your life being lived for Him. When you live your life for Him then everything you do to serve others is ministry. This might come in the form of being a doctor, an accountant, a janitor, a mechanic, a teacher or a waiter.
Some of you are so caught up in myths that you can’t wrap your brain around this. If you’re thinking, “Do you mean if I did those things for a church they would be ministry?”
The answer is No.
It is not doing an activity “for/at Church” that makes it ministry, it is living your life for Jesus that makes your activities ministry.
That’s why this article is entitled, “Your already in ministry.” If you can recognise that you belong to Jesus and whatever you do is supposed to be for his glory and for showing love to others, then you’ll recognise how every Christian can truly be a “full-time minister”.
Remember as a Christian, you’re not just an employee…you are a servant of God. So whatever work you’re doing, if you do it for God and for the purpose of loving God and loving people, it is ministry.
And for stay-at-home caregivers of children and parents and friends, you are ministering, usually without pay and often without gratitude. I want you to know that you can change nappies and give baths and mop floors and do the groceries to the glory of God. When you do these things out of love for God and people, it is ministry.
Ministry happens anytime the grace of God empowers you to serve someone else. And like Paul said, we need to shine a light on those ministries that don’t get the spotlight to make sure everyone knows that there are necessary too.
Ministry Myth number 4 – Ministry is optional
If you get what I’m saying about the nature of ministry, then you know ministry isn’t optional for Christians. But there are those who think, “Ministry is something I can do when I’m more mature” or “I’m saved by God’s grace, so whether I do ministry or not is really up to me” or “Ministry can wait till after university, or marriage, or kids are out of the house, or…”
But these ideas reveal two problems.
First, they reveal an identity crisis. As Christians, we were re-created as God’s masterpieces for the purpose of loving Him and loving people through actively ministering in all facets of our lives. Just seeing yourself as a “sinner saved by grace” who is now on auto-pilot until Jesus comes back is a tragic misunderstanding of what it means to belong to God.
The second problem is one of thinking that ministry must wait until you’re “mature” or done with other things. The truth is, you’ll never mature as a believer if you’re not actively ministering. And those other things you’re trying to finish first—like work and family and school—are actually the very places where God wants you to be active in ministering.
Ministry is for everyday life. And ministry is for every Christian. It’s not optional…it’s what it means to be a Christian.
Let’s go back over the myths and the truth:
Myth number 1 – Ministry is for Leaders Only
TRUTH: Ministry is for every Christian, not just leaders.
Myth number 2 – Ministry requires gifts I don’t have.
TRUTH: God has given you all the gifts you need to do the ministry He wants you to do.
Myth number 3 – Ministry includes only a few activities.
TRUTH: Ministry can, and should, be done anytime, anywhere that you can serve someone in love, by the power of the Spirit.
Myth number 4 – Ministry is optional.
TRUTH: Ministry is the lifestyle of a Christian. It’s not optional.
As I write this I am having issues with my emails.
A Christian who doesn’t minister is kind of like a email address that doesn’t send emails. You’re not doing what you were designed to do.
So embrace the ministry you’re already doing, and pursue opportunities to minister in other ways. Remember, if you do something out of love for God and others, empowered by the grace of God, that is ministry.
So go minister!
I really want to encourage you to be diligent with your Bible study time, because God has so much more for us than we can get from just going to church once or twice a week and hearing someone else talk about the Word. When you spend time with God, your life will change in amazing ways, because God is a Redeemer. There’s nothing that’s too hard for Him, and He can make you whole, spirit, soul and body!
You’re important to God, and you’re important to us at www.faithministries.com.au. When it comes to prayer, we believe that God wants to meet your needs and reveal His promises to you. So whatever you’re concerned about and need prayer for we want to be here for you! Or even if you just want to say Hi, you can contact us here
2019 IS A YEAR FOR REFORMATION
© www.faithministries.com.au 2019 All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968, no part of this Article may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, communicated or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written permission.