What Is Ministry? – Digging Deeper

Fantastic answers! A few summarizing thoughts…

Ministry is loving God and others expressed by serving God and others. Realizing our identity as vessels of Christ’s life and power, we recognize His image in others and give, pour, and release His life and power as a conduit of His life poured into us. Hearing His voice, we reflect the work of the Spirit by expressing our faith in obedience to His words. The kingdom is expanded as we participate in redemption and reconciliation when we compassionately meet the needs we encounter by bringing the life of Christ we embody into the situation.

A couple of things that stood out to me…

  • Our identity as servants or ministers
  • Embodiment or incarnation of Christ’s life
  • A holistic, life-encompassing view of ministry as worship

If we see God in every aspect of life and do everything for the love of God, how does that effect our definition of ministry? If we say that everything is ministry, does that diminish the truth of what ministry actually is?

At what point do our everyday activities become ministry?

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10 thoughts on “What Is Ministry? – Digging Deeper

  1. Like Barb in the comments of the prior post I do not like the word ministry even though I have a very different CLB background.

    I believe that “ministry” is being human. By this I mean Father created us to be human (in his image), sin deformed our humanity, but as we are restored to our true humanity everything we do is “ministry”. I think it is a false dichotomy to think of “ministry” as only one part of who we are as humans. All of the various definitions in the comments and your summary are what being a human is….a human in the image of Jesus.

  2. I don’t have the book on hand right now, but Rick Warren said something to the effect of:

    “Anything that fulfills the purpose for which God created it glorifies God.”

    I like that – and I think it ties in with what traveller is saying. I think a ‘short-list’ of purposes that God created us for is; loving relationships (with himself and with one another), collaborative adventure, and joy of mutual discovery. I think that anytime we are engaged in such endeavor we are engaged in ministry and glorifying God.

  3. I found a quote by Dietrick Boenhoffer, from a letter he wrote right before he was executed that expresses the essence of where I think ministry resides…

    “I discovered later, and I’m still discovering right up to this moment, that is it only by living completely in this world that one learns to have faith. By this worldliness I mean living unreservedly in life’s duties, problems, successes and failures. In so doing we throw ourselves completely into the arms of God, taking seriously, not our own sufferings, but those of God in the world. That, I think, is faith.”

  4. This is like asking about marriage. If I am in traffic, am I less married because I try to drive safely, or because I might be immersed in actually driving? Brushing your teeth does not have ministry significance in the sense that it is sacred anymore than driving in traffic has for marriage. So, ministry can have boundaries just like even though I am married I can operate as an individual while driving.

    I think that even though everything we do is significant, it really is WHO WE ARE that matters. Identity, indeed, is the issue.

  5. Wow, the discussion gets even better! Could it be that brushing your teeth ministers to yourself? ;) And I’m sure any wife would appreciate her husband’s safe driving habits so as to return home in one piece. :)

    I don’t have it all figured out yet, but this does raise an interesting question about the existence of a boundary between ‘sacred’ and ‘mundane’. I don’t know that I think in those terms any longer. Where would I draw that line? What are the necessary elements that define something as sacred ministry versus mundane life?

    In Acts 20:33-35, Paul talks about how he worked hard with his hands to “minister” to his needs and to the needs of those who were with him. So, tent-making qualifies as ministry?

  6. Just one more thought: Could it be that if all of our life is under the rule of Jesus, then isn’t His kingdom manifest in all of it, not just some parts? For instance, was Daniel ministering to Nebuchadnezzer’s (sp?) government in his role as an advisor/wise man or only when he prophesied?

  7. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    Dualism, as Sarah said between sacred and mundane, is a difficult mindset to overcome, epecially when it seems that church culture still speaks in those terms.

    I try to think in terms of being rather than doing, but still catch myself slipping at times.

    I hope you will continue into the next post with processing and defining this issue and mentality. I appreciate the wisdom you all have shared.

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