Pastor's Blog

Over the centuries people have created a concept that doesn’t appear in the Bible.  It’s called “the ministry” – as in “He’s going into the ministry” – meaning, “He’s going to become a paid professional in religion – a pastor.”

But if you look closely at the New Testament epistles, pastors aren’t “the ministers”.  Pastors “equip the saints for the work of the ministry” (Ephesians 4.12).  The ministers are “the saints”.

“Saint” doesn’t mean “super-spiritual Christian”.  Paul used the word to refer to the everyday Christian.  Every Christian in every congregation is a saint – a holy one, set aside for God’s use.  You are a saint.  And if you are a saint, you have been called into “the ministry”.

The word “minister” just means “serve”.  When you minister to someone, you serve them.  You see a need in their life and try to meet it.  You show love, care, and attention toward another soul.

If you help children learn to read or coach their sports team, you are “ministering” to them.
If you cook a meal, or teach someone to cook, you minister to them.
If you listen to a person’s woes, if you weep with them or encourage them, you minister to them.
If you help a person learn to budget money or lose weight or teach them some other life skill, you minister to them.
Any time you serve another person, investing your time and energy to benefit their life, you minister.  When you do, you are “in the ministry”.

Everyone, including the atheist, approves of people being served for good.  But it usually isn’t the atheist funding such service or putting the time in to do the dirty work.  There are exceptions, but it’s religious people who usually do these things because belief in God is connected to a sense of love and service to others. Care of people tends to flow out of religious beliefs. 

If nature just takes its own course, we find we don’t care about our species.  We care about our offspring, about those related to us.  Religion in general (and Christianity in particular) stretches us beyond nature and gives us supernatural reasons to care about those that nature would allow us to overlook.  Christianity teaches us to see beyond nature.

The world busies us with natural life – putting food on the table and protecting and providing for our own.  “Church” and “worship” leads us to momentarily put aside the natural and refocus our lives around the One Who is beyond nature.  And we listen to teaching from God’s revelation that reminds us how to approach life beyond nature’s dictates

This is where the function of the pastor-teacher enters the picture.  He equips others with truth to invigorate their perspective and encourage their service to others.

This is the simple foundation upon which a church is built.  Theologians call it “philosophy of ministry”.  You don’t need to know Greek to get it.  It’s right there in the English sentences of Ephesians 4. 

Believe it – and start translating it into action.  In no time you’ll find a niche in which you really are “a minister”.

 

 

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