By Jeff Klick
Ministry. What does this word mean to you? To some it means preaching or teaching. To others, it means being used of God in some spiritual way, perhaps by being a missionary, or doing something they dislike for "God's benefit." In the Bible it has a very simple meaning; being a servant. The word "ministry," in both the Old and New Testaments means "servant."
Many people feel it is the job of the pastor to minister and they will receive from him. "Why do we pay him anyway if it isn't to minister?" they may say. Before I started this church, I spent much time in prayer, asking God the same question. "What am I suppose to do as a pastor?" The answer I received may surprise some of you. In Ephesians 4:11-12 the Bible states; "And He gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, (this caught my attention) for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ." One of my keyjobs is to help equip every believer to be in ministry! It's not the only job, but it is one of the most important ones.
Knowing what the job involved started me off on a search. How do I help fellow believers minister? First, I had to deal with what the definition of ministry was. I knew it wasn't just teaching or preaching - for not everyone is a gifted speaker. Some people almost pass out when they have to get in front of other pe9ple to talk or sing. I also realized that only a chosen few will be called to move to a foreign country, so most of us are not missionaries. Many of us are too fearful to pass out tracks on the street corners on Friday night. So what is ministry? Here are just two of my thoughts....
If you're single or have grown children you are in a really good place to minister (serve) to others. One dear lady in our church talked to me recently and told me of how she was spending some of her free time. Her children are grown and she has noticed all the families we have at Hope with multiple small children. She called one lady recently and asked if she could come over and help her with the housework, or make dinner, or just to give this busy mom a break. "But Jeff, that's not ministry," you may say. Let me point you to Titus 2:3-5 "Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God." I would say this is exactly what ministry is! You may feel you failed as a mother or wife and you are not qualified to speak into the life of a younger woman. You may be just the one God intends to use. The wisdom you have learned from your situation may be invaluable to this young family. Your act of love and service will have an impact on all the lives of this family for many generations to come. If that is not ministry I do know what is!
I have heard of another family that visits nursing homes and asks for the folks who have not had any visitors for awhile. Every nursing home has them, the forgotten ones, the downcast, miserable ones who wasted their life on themselves and now have no one to visit them. The apostle James puts it this way, "This is pure and undefiled religion to look after widows and orphans in their distress." What a ministry this could be. To help comfort someone whom is lonely and forgotten.
The key to ministry is to be a servant. When our heart is to help others, God will open the doors of opportunity. If we want a ministry to be seen, we already have our reward in full. If we minister out of a sincere desire to serve, we will b~ sending our reward on ahead of us into heaven.
I've written this article for those who have older children or never had children or who are still single. If you are already married and have a family, your ministry will be focused there. Your family is your primary ministry. Do an excellent job there and you will hear our Lord say to you "well done my child, enter into the joy of your Master." Serve at home and you will have unlimited opportunities later in your life to serve others! God is very creative and is not limited to our ideas. Teach your children to serve and they will never be bored! The best way to accomplish this is to demonstrate it!
May God bless you as you seek your ministry!