What Is Ministry? – Final Thoughts

A few quotes from yesterday’s posts and comments regarding ministry:

  • an effective disciple of Jesus
  • actually doing the work of the ministry
  • make a difference for Christ
  • impact for the Kingdom
  • effective in ministering the Gospel
  • to genuinely serve as a Gospel representative
  • to represent the Kingdom
    • What do you think?

      Are we there yet?


      17 thoughts on “What Is Ministry? – Final Thoughts

      1. A mentor of mine said, “Everything, both material and spiritual is good except where it is fallen shows that it is not a spiritual/material distinction but rather a spiritual warfare problem.”
        And “since ministry in the New Testament literally means serving tables and anyone with a job has countless opportunities to serve which allows for Christian ministry.”
        Shouldn’t we be about “Living in 3D? Developing relationships, Discovering stories, Discerning next steps.”

      2. I would ike to pose what I think is a very related question to this ongoing discussion:

        If God does not get the credit for a good deed done, does it count?

      3. I find it extremely interesting that we find it necessary to define “ministry”. This has been an enlightening discussion for me from that perspective.

      4. In Acts the work of the Holy Spirit tended to be more emphasized in discussions of ministry. Well, and in Paul too. And, in the Gospels, I suppose.

        Without the Spirit, it’s all just work.

      5. an effective disciple of Jesus

        actually doing the work of the ministry

        make a difference for Christ

        impact for the Kingdom

        effective in ministering the Gospel

        to genuinely serve as a Gospel representative

        to represent the Kingdom

        What do you think?

        Are we there yet?


        Of course not, but I don’t think it’s a destination. It’s a journey. (I think I read that in a book somewhere. Or maybe I saw it in a tv commercial…: – ) )

      6. I appreciated Patrick’s line:

        “Without the Spirit, it’s all just work.”

        I always thought about ministry as something that flows out of our God-given giftings and contributes to the Kingdom work of making Christ real in the world around us.

      7. Grace,
        I think I can say a resounding NOOOO!!
        We are hardly there. I know I am not. But sometimes I am. I think this is a heart issue and I thank God that He is so faithful and patient with me.

      8. I don’t get the effective- impact- making a difference thing, especially if we’re talking head counting. We’re called to be obedient to the Spirit and whether that makes a numerical difference in the world is irrelevant to our mission. Look at the trouble David got into when he counted his troops. Being effective indicates you’ve been counting, but showing love to your friends indicates that you have been obedient to the Spirit.

      9. Thanks again for all of the great comments and input. I’ve wanted to post some responses and concluding thoughts, but may not have time until the weekend.

        As usual, you guys have carried on an insightful conversation. I truly appreciate the amazing people who share their wisdom here.

      10. Grace,
        I read through the last few posts. Fascinating topic. How about this?

        For daughters and sons of God, life IS ministry. “Whether you eat or drink or WHATEVER you do, do it for the glory of God.”

      11. I don’t know why, but these words kind of make me cringe: “effective, actually doing, make a difference, impact.” I prefer: “serve, represent”. Maybe its just semantics. Sometimes language is limited as a vehicle of communication.

      12. I like John’s idea here; “For daughters and sons of God, life IS ministry.”

        Unfortunately, being a realist I would change one word here. Either:
        “For daughters and sons of God, (abundant) LIFE is ministry”. -or-
        “For daughters and sons of God, life SHOULD BE ministry”.

        Paul writes to Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:4; “No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs – he wants to please his commanding officer.”

        We cease to minister when we cease to submit to the reign of God. When I was in the military, I represented the military 24/7. I was a soldier when I ate, I was a soldier when I slept, I was a soldier when I pulled KP duty, I was even a soldier when I drank a few beers and played poker with my buddies. All of that was included in the life of being a soldier. All the time I was doing those things, I was serving my country. But, had I deserted the Army, I would no longer have been in service to my country. I could still eat, sleep, do mundane tasks, drink beer and play poker just like before, except now I was no longer serving. The Kingdom of God is not a static place that can be measured. It is a dynamic, organic, relational commitment to the King Himself. We are to live to please our “Commanding Officer”.

      13. This has been a great conversation. I think that ministry is one of those words that gets tossed around and means different thing to different people.

        Personally, I think there is still a lot of dualism in christian thinking. While we might mentally ascend to the idea that ministry should happen in our normal lives, we often encounter the fact that many people still truly believe that ministry is mostly church-sanctioned activities.

        When we were really involved at church, this was a difficult concept for me to grasp. We own a business, but I always viewed it as a means to an end – something to get done so that we could focus our time, money, and attention on “spiritual” activities like teaching, counseling, praying, prophesying, worshipping, leadership, etc. Those were the things that I viewed as ministry.

        When some of the work/marketplace ministry teaching came out, it wasn’t especially helpful toward curing the dualism of my thinking. Most of what I read in that regard was an attempt to put an evangelistic spin on secular work.

        For me personally, the lack of church ministry has forced me to see life and ministry in a more holistic way.

        Sarah, I share your uneasiness with the tone of those phrases. I think it reflects a results-oriented grid rather than viewing ministry as incarnational with presence being the focus.

        Again, thanks everyone for sharing your thoughts in each of the threads. I was hoping to draw out a bigger picture than what I could express, and I wasn’t disappointed. I believe there is wisdom in the chorus of voices represented on this topic.

      14. I don’t think we’re there yet. But I do believe we can get there quicker if we co-operate with Him. That means different things to different people.
        To me, it’s about getting back to the power and simplicity of the Gospel.
        What is often treated as ‘milk’ is actually the ‘meat’. Spending time simply ‘being’ with Him is the one of the hardest things to do. Some of us want to produce something for God, so that we can be pleasing to Him. I believe our first calling is to minister to Him. I found Eze 44:10 – 16 helpful in putting first things first. Once that’s in place, I think we have so much more to give.

        It never ceases to amaze me how pleased He was with us even before we saw our first 24 hours of life. Before He created all this…He knew us, and loved us enough to endure sending Jesus to the cross. It is for this reason I want to follow, and in everyday life situations, be ready to minister His love in a dark place. And you know no one may ever see my face or my name on a speakers’ schedule. I may never have ‘a ministry’ that is known by anyone but Him. Sounds good to me:)

      15. That’s it! Presence! Ministry is His presence. I haven’t read much on the concept of ‘incarnational’ but if it means being a carrier of His presence (as a living temple of the Holy Spirit), then yes, I think this is paramount. At least it’s paramount to my redefinition of ‘ministry’. I keep thinking about you at the dentist. Because we carry His presence, people are affected (whether we speak or not). But when He’s around, His presence ministers, it softens hearts, brings peace, brings well-being. I really think there is something powerful in just being the people of God – incarnational carriers of His presence. And yes, results-orientation is anti-relational (it approaches people as cogs in a bigger agenda, rather than as valuable individuals that God created in their own right). There’s something inherently demeaning or degrading about that… at this point, I’m just thinking aloud. I guess ministry isn’t only presence (sometimes actions, or speaking, or some sort of service is necessary), but real ministry is impossible without presence.

      16. Presence,
        How beautifully simplistic.
        I can relate it to seeing a pristine spring fed river early in the morning. Just by being there , God comes a little more into focus. Because His presence is evident in a place like that to me.
        I suppose it would make sense that us “just being” his children is sometimes evidence enough to at least get another person to question, or even begin to seek answers.
        Man! that is really cool .

      17. I have struggled with this question for several years and apprciate all the input. I spent yesterday at my parents place. It is beautiful there overlooking the canyons above the Niobrara river. It was so peaceful compared to “ministry” that is my full time occupation. Serving others in need and the calls and complaints of the saints. I really wanted to stay.
        I have the question still burning in my mind, “how do I minister/lead others to a place of life in Christ? Or how do I help them find the presence of God?

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