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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Ministry and ministers

by Nelson Roth
Believers doing ministry is a mark of spiritual health.

What are the personal challenges from that short statement?  What is your perspective of “believers doing ministry?”  And, what is ministry?  If believers doing ministry is tied to spiritual health, the thought is that as an evaluator - ministry is a gauge for spiritual health.

Let’s look into this further letting the following three questions guide us:  Who are the ministers?  What is ministry?  Why is ministry important?

Who are the ministers? 
I Corinthians 3:6-9 reads, “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow… For we are God’s fellow workers…”   This verse speaks of the inclusiveness of ministry.  The verse tells us that ministry is relational - it connects with others, and it works along with others.  Ministry in our day and age has taken on more of a vocational meaning in some circles, as we call pastors and clergy - to be ministers.  Clergy do spend their life in the ministry and they are rightly designated as ministers; but they are not the only ones who can be or are to be involved in ministry.

In the local church, there is an absolute indispensability of each and every believer exercising their ministry gifts and abilities. The dynamic of the early church came from gifted leaders building up the saints - helping them discover and develop spiritual gifts and releasing them into ministry.

Local church leaders are to,
equip God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.   Ephesians 4:12. 

One challenge can be preconceived ideas about the roles of clergy and laity. 

The equipped members of the local church do ministry.  Ephesians 4:16, 
From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and build itself up in love, as each part does its work.”

  • What has been your past ministry experience? 
  • What spiritual gifts have others noticed in you?
What is ministry?
Another challenge about the statement above, can be with the word ministry itself. 

Ministry is serving God by serving others with the spiritual gifts and abilities He has given.  Ministry is about doing what we can do with God’s help. Ministry is about responding to needs that we see.  Ministry is not about being busy.  Rather it is more about being willing to do the right things at the right time.  It’s about knowing God’s will and agreeing with Him when we recognize His activity.

The word ministry is from the Greek word diakoneo, meaning "to serve" or douleuo, meaning "to serve as a slave." In the New Testament, ministry is seen as service to God and to other people in His name. Jesus provided the pattern for Christian ministry:

Matthew 20:28, “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”John 13:14-15, “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.”

Ministry is
how we serve each other.  It’s seeing genuine needs and responding in Jesus’ name. 

Why is ministry important?
Doing ministry means taking that step to begin serving like Jesus served.  And, ministry that is relevant reveals Christ. Serving like Jesus served, means being available.  “Two blind men... shouted, ‘Lord, have mercy on us!’ ... Jesus stopped and called them. ‘What do you want Me to do for you?’  He asked.”  Matthew. 20:30-32

  • What is the important thing that Jesus did here?
To serve like Jesus served, I must be willing to be available, which might also mean being interrupted  Proverbs 3:28, “Do not say to your neighbor, ‘Come back later; I'll give it tomorrow’ - when you now have it with you.”

In Luke 10:30-37, Jesus tells the parable of The Good Samaritan; and in it we see three different responses toward the person who was in need of help. 

  • One kept his distance. 
  • Another was curious but did not get involved.
  • The Samaritan in the story not only saw the need, but he responded to the man in need.  A principle for getting involved is ‘to treat others how I want to be treated’ - and that reveals Christ through you.
The purpose of our ministry service then is to share the good news of the gospel.  We evaluate our ministry related to its role in carrying out the Great Commission. 

Ministry that is relevant - is believers serving others in Jesus’ name.  And, it’s a mark of spiritual health.

Ministry is one of the evidences of what Relevant Ministry calls - the "7 Marks of Spiritual Health".  RM Coaching helps to assess all 7 Marks, providing an insightful check-up for personal spiritual health.  The RM team is writing about all 7 Marks, focusing on one topic a month with a new Blog article each week.  The topic this month is Ministry.  Please feel free to comment and join in on the conversation.

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RM’s vision - to equip leaders to minister relevantly in churches that will be healthy and thriving.

Relevant Ministry Inc.
Training future leaders - Building healthy ministries - Serving on the Gulf Coast


  1. We are all called to minister from the moment we recieve the Holy Spirit. The Scripture tells us we are to spread his word to even the Samaritans, a people the chosen of God openly hated. However it was a samaritan who showed us all how to "minister" when he made the decision to stop and help his fellow man. Will you stop and help your fellow man today? or will you pass by him on the oppisite side of the road for fear that he might make you unclean.

  2. I would say that ministry is utilizing and opportunity and providing a "service" to others in spiritual, emotional, mental or physical ways. Bringing God's love through individuals to other individuals in a multitude of avenues. Everyone can be a minister to others. There are many ways of ministering. I believe each person has talents that God provides us to help in ministering to others. Not everyone can preach and teach effectively. Ministry can even be small ways like listening and sharing with someone in need. There are many ways of showing and spreading God's love and salvation through Jesus Christ.


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