What is Ministry? December 25, 2005Posted by JP in Uncategorized.
Before we can discover what our particular ministry in Christ is, we must first understand what the Bible means when it speaks of “ministry.” Too often we see “ministry” as a highly “spiritual” exercise, the domain of those who are “full time in the ministry.”
But this couldn’t be farther from the truth. The Biblical concept of ministry has a very simple definition. It means:
“The act of serving someone; the act of providing care or help.”
This act of serving or providing care can be expressed in many different ways. But all the numerous expressions of ministry may be grouped under two general headings, as seen in Acts 6:1-4:
NOW ABOUT this time, when the number of the disciples was greatly increasing, complaint was made by the Hellenists (the Greek-speaking Jews) against the [native] Hebrews because their widows were being overlooked and neglected in the daily ministration (distribution of relief). So the Twelve [apostles] convened the multitude of the disciples and said, It is not seemly or desirable or right that we should have to give up or neglect [preaching] the Word of God in order to attend to serving at tables and superintending the distribution of food. Therefore select out from among yourselves, brethren, seven men of good and attested character and repute, full of the [Holy] Spirit and wisdom, whom we may assign to look after this business and duty. But we will continue to devote ourselves steadfastly to prayer and the ministry of the Word.
Ministry of the Word of Christ
This is not just the classic “pulpit” style of ministry, but includes encouraging, sharing, teaching, discipling and witnessing.
Ministry of the Love of Christ
This other side of the ministry coin is intensely practical, meeting not just the spiritual needs of people, but also their emotion and physical needs.
Acts 6 does not mean that the apostles saw “waiting on tables” as something below them. Rather it was a recognition that Christ had apportioned different gifts within his Body. It is only as the Body is properly functioning that every expression of Christ’s ministry will be exercised.
Acts 6:5-7: And the suggestion pleased the whole assembly, and they selected Stephen, a man full of faith (a strong and welcome belief that Jesus is the Messiah) and full of and controlled by the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte (convert) from Antioch. These they presented to the apostles, who after prayer laid their hands on them. And the message of God kept on spreading, and the number of disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem; and [besides] a large number of the priests were obedient to the faith [in Jesus as the Messiah, through Whom is obtained eternal salvation in the kingdom of God].
Each of us has a role to play – both in the ministry of Christ’s Word and in the ministry of Christ’s love. But there is also a unique emphasis that God has placed on your life. As you develop that emphasis, without ignoring the other side of the ministry coin, you will find your own special
niche in the Body of Christ.
1 Peter 4:11 Whoever speaks, [let him do it as one who utters] oracles of God; whoever renders service, [let him do it] as with the strength which God furnishes abundantly, so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ (the Messiah). To Him be the glory and dominion forever and ever (through endless ages). Amen (so be it).
Copyright © 1999, The Online Bible College.