Arnold on a stile

When you think of the word “ministry”, what do you think of? A minister? The church leader? Maybe youth ministry? Children’s ministry? Family ministry? The issue I see here is that these things that our minds jump to, they all revolve around the traditional idea of church. But is that where ministry ends? Is it restricted to a Sunday morning? Or the geographic confinements of your church building? I certainly hope not!

The word “ministry” comes from the Greek, diakoneo, meaning “to serve”. In the New Testament, ministry is demonstrated as serving God or serving other people in his name.

From the examples set by Jesus and the early Church, we can see that ministry involves ministering to the emotional, physical, spiritual, financial and mental needs of individuals. For examples see: Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 2:1-12, Mark 5:1-20 and many others throughout the gospels!

What we also see from Jesus is that ministry certainly wasn’t limited by time or location. In fact, Jesus even broke the sabbath, commanded under Jewish law in order to minister to those in need (Mark 2:23-3:6). So why, as churches, do we so easily fall into the trap or only valuing that ministry which is done within our church?

We can easily see the value of the ministry of someone leading a church, delivering a talk, leading a toddler group, raising money for our church, playing in the worship band, joining our church council, doing gardening or maintenance in our church grounds.

But what about the rest of the week? What other ministries are your fellow congregation members involved in?

Do they volunteer for a charity? That’s ministry. Do they support their elderly neighbour? That’s ministry. Do they share their faith with friends at school? That’s ministry. Are they raising a child? That is most certainly ministry. Do they care for a family member? That’s ministry. Do they help at Guides, Scouts, or other secular groups? That’s ministry.

Yes, volunteering at your local church is a great thing to do, and I would highly recommend it to everyone. But rather than ignoring and de-valuing the areas of ministry that fall outside of our church, outside of our sight and outside of our benefit, churches should seek out, celebrate and encourage the ministries that congregation members are involved in outside of the church boundaries.


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1 Comment

  1. Great blog today Arnold

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