This week Norma Jean and I are in Hot Springs, Arkansas, where I’m holding a meeting. The theme of the meeting is “Mobilizing for Ministry.” I believe it is a needed study among Christians today.
So, our word of the week is “ministry.”
Ephesians 4:11-12 says that God “gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.”
Many people often think of ministry as something a preacher does. We hear people talk about “the minister.” Or “a call to the ministry.” While the word is used as a noun to refer a preacher’s ministry of the word, it is also used as a verb 37 times in the bible that applies to all Christians.
According to God’s plan preachers, pastors and teachers are commanded to “equip the saints for ministry.” God wants each of us to be involved in some aspect of ministry.
The Bible exhorts, “As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” ( 1Pet 4:11). There are three things we learn about ministry from this verse..
(1) My Ministry is based on my gifts.
We all have different “gifts.” And they can be used to glorify God and serve others. The church family is a cooperative body where everyone has something to add. To share. To give.
Some minister through teaching or preaching. Some minister through their leadership skills. People blessed with monetary resources can minister with their money. Others with their time. Or talents. One may minister more quietly behind the scenes through encouragement. Showing mercy. Visiting the sick. Doing physical work.
Ministry means I find a way to obey Galatians 6:10. “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”
(2) My ministry is an indication of My stewardship.
Stewardship is a Bible concept that says, “God is the owner. I am the manager.” Biblical stewardship is a lifestyle. An attitude. A willingness to surrender to God. To give the best of everything. And the first of everything.
Stewardship applies to my time. My talents. and my treasure. And it begins with an attitude of love. Love for God. And love for others. An understanding that we are not just put here to consume resources. But to contribute. To give. To share.
Peter says we are to be “good stewards.” Good stewards are faithful. Trustworthy. Dependent. Ministering means that we work for the Master. We are his servants. His stewards. His slaves. It means we are His ministers!
(3) My ministry is according to God’s grace.
Our gifts come from God. Paul put it this way.
“Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.” (Rom 12:6-8).
We all have been blessed with different talents, gifts and abilities. Our professions, personalities and personal pursuits lead us into various opportunities to minister. By God’s providential grace we’ve been provided a means to minister to others. Paul succinctly says, “Let us use it!”
Christians are to be mobilizing for ministry! Ministry is a call of activity. Ministry is not theory. Speculation. Or lectures. It is love in action. It’s Christians on the go. It’s God working through us.”
Today. This week. This month. Look for opportunities to minister to the needs of others. Begin in your home. Look within your church family. And expand to see how you can serve in so many ways in your community.
When you minister, God will be honored. Others will be served. And you will find fulfillment.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman