Welcome to the eleventh blog entry of New Direction, where we search the Spirit, Scripture and more discovering the New Direction God is leading his church in this post modern culture. Today, we take a look at ministry.
GotQuestions.org reads, ““Ministry” is from the Greek word diakoneo, meaning “to serve” or douleuo, meaning “to serve as a slave.” In the New Testament, ministry is seen as service to God and to other people in His name. Jesus provided the pattern for Christian ministry—He came, not to receive service, but to give it (see Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45; John 13:1-17). (Read more: http://www.gotquestions.org/what-is-ministry.html#ixzz3XfxA1Zzj )
Traditionally, many believed that ministry must take place through the context of an organized, established church. In reading some of the work of Cecil Hook, I saw this principle in action. As a leader in the Church of Christ, he had to receive permission to share any insight God gave Him if it pushed the status quo of the denomination. This included books or articles he may write outside of the church. Eventually, he stepped down so he could pursue his ministry without restraints.
Yet, as we have reviewed, the church is spiritual in nature. It manifests in countless ways, and cannot be predicted or confined to one model. Ministries share similar characteristics.
When one fully understands that the walk of the Christian is subjectively lived, and the church is spiritual, than one begins to understand that ministry follows a similar pattern. No one can tell you exactly what a ministry must look like anymore than they can outline to a husband exactly how he should express devotion to his wife. Sometimes that means helping with a traditional church… anything from running a class, to helping repair the building.
Oftentimes, similar to Mr. Hook, that means going outside of an organized, traditional church. In an interview, he encouraged others, ” … to use his/her talents in private ministry. Whatever constructive thing you can do best and enjoy doing most can be used as your ministry to God.” If you like to draw comics, draw them onto the LORD, using the message to lead others closer to God. If you like to help with children, offer to watch the children of other Christian couples to give them time together. Your talents and imagination will guide you in finding your role in the body of Christ.
Some efforts require funding. Paul often did manual labor, making tents, to fund his ministry. Using money we have earned in a day job to fund our ministry certainly glorifies God, as well.
When you start thinking of ‘ministry’ in this manner, a world of exciting possibilities opens up. When I attended church, I attempted to fit my skills in with what the church wanted or needed. For example, I enjoy making comics. A church allowed me to create one page comics for our teenage group for a while, before they stopped me (25 pages/week ended up being too expensive for the church). Similar to fitting a square peg into a round hole, it got nowhere fast. In fact, one older lady criticized my efforts because the main character looked “angry.” And, after all, Christians should never be angry! (I could only wonder if she stopped reading the Bible, which shows so many men and women of God angry for both right and wrong reasons). Later, I took my efforts to the internet, sharing my comics with the world, and finding readers who enjoyed the stories.
Cecil Hook goes on to say, ” This does not eliminate work with others in the congregation, but neither does it need connection with the organized system. One needs no elder permission or assignment to carry on his/her ministry. You can support your own ministry without apology. If others wish to help in any manner, that is acceptable, but one does not need to call for help to do what God has gifted him/her to do. Neither must one give his dedicated money to the church, where it is consumed mainly by real estate and salaries, then ask for permission and help to carry on his/her ministry.
Since my retirement from congregational ministry, I can testify that my private ministry (with volunteer help from many others) has been the most effective and rewarding effort of my career. And, due to the nature of my writings, if I had waited for a congregation to sponsor it, undoubtedly, I would still be waiting.
This concept makes religion personal and practical and best utilizes both the individual and his/her abilities and money.”
This approach (and understanding) works super well with a post modern culture. Not impressed with organization, thick doctrine and large church organizations, they long to feel God’s love directly in their lives. Individual ministries, privately funded and detached from a large church organization, have the best chance to do just that.
Join us next time on New Direction, where we wrap our season going way outside the box…to talk about Christian Femininsm!
Interview with Cecil Hook: http://graceawakening.faithsite.com/content.asp?SID=263&CID=46440
Thank you so much for watching. I would love to hear from you. You can email me at jcservant at cyberlightcomics.com. You can follow me on twitter @jcservant . You can, of course, write comments and questions right here on youtube below. And, who knows, I might address your question right here on the air. Until our next show, may God bless you.