Thursday, January 08, 2009

Meaning and Purpose of Ministry

Somehow the Christian community in general has lost the meaning of ministry and the purpose of having spiritual gifts.

1 Cor. 12: 7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:

12 For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.

We have spiritual gifts so that we may share them for others benefits. Christians who believe in mutuality have always understood this and this is why we believe that ministry is not about worldly authority with its system of privileges and limitations. Rather ministry is about serving others using the spiritual gifts that God has given to you.

Matt. 20: 25 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. 26 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. 27 And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

Ministry does not mean that one cannot help needs if it doesn’t mean using a spiritual gift. We are all called to help one another with our personal means. We are all to teach others (share) what we do know, evangelize and witness (share about Christ and the good news), share our personal means (finances, time, possessions) when we see others with needs. One doesn’t need a spiritual gift to help clean up at church, or bake some cookies, or help decorate for special functions, pull weeds and mow the lawn, hold a yard sale for raising money, etc. There is tons both men and women and families can join together in doing for the furthering of the kingdom.

But it does mean that we don’t seek to have ministries where we preach, teach, shepherd, organize, evangelize groups of people if God has not specifically anointed us with those spiritual gifts. These gifts are not distributed according to race, nationality, social status, gender, age, or physical prowess. They are distributed at God’s unction, God’s will. It does mean that if we seek to allow only certain people of our own choosing to participate in ministries, then we might be going against what God wants done. And frankly every church in every denomination I’m positive has done this from time to time, some more than others. In our efforts to over organize we constantly run the Holy Spirit right into the corner where He cannot function as He desires. We are constantly quenching the HS. And we are getting better at it.

This is the reason why churches become boring and some decide that going to church is often just an empty duty. It has become too much of human efforts and design and too little of God’s work and desires.


Phil said...

Thank you for this post. I am preparing to attend seminary and while I do feel that God is calling me to fulfill the role of shepherd in some capacity I am excited to reflect on the truth that everyone has a role to serve and the better we become at waiting on the Holy Spirit and allowing Him to do His work the more alive our church bosy will be. That will be something I think about carefully as I enter full time ministry. Thank you. Where did you attend seminary? Any wisdom you cans hare someone at the beginning of the road? I can be reached at

believer333 said...

Thank you for asking. I attended a Lutheran seminary. Where are you planning on attending.

It is an interesting thing that while seminaries are wonderful places of learning, they can sometimes be dangerous also. We are to rely upon God for our direction. And ultimately we are also to rely upon God via the HS for our learning. Fellow believers can get us started, but we are responsible for what we believe. One of the more important things I learned in my seminary training was how to study the Bible for myself, how to research, and how to listen to other's research. It's not possible to learn everything at once. But Greek and Hebrew knowledge is quite important. I wish that I had taken them. I'm learning online now. As well, do your best not to get stuck into a specific belief paradigm. Many Christians have said important things, but they've all made mistakes somewhere. You'll make some of your own, so no sense compounding it with other's mistakes as well.

If you are called to serve the Body of Christ in sheparding them toward a closer relationship with God, it is imperative that your relationship with the Lord be deep and intimate.