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Gospel Essentials and the Philosophy of Ministry

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Table of Contents

  • The Meaning of Ministry
  • The Motives of Ministry
  • The Essentials of Ministry
  • The Methods of Ministry
  • Conclusion
  • References

The Meaning of Ministry

The preparing for ministry is first accepting the call of God on our life and responding to the call. The prophet Isaiah is an excellent example of how to accept and respond to the voice of God. We learned in chapter eleven of Everyday Ministry, that Isaiah had a burden, a passion, and was just waiting on his calling. When it came, he responded, “Here I am. Send me” (Early & Gutierrez 2010, 948). Isaiah realized that he was unworthy of the call of God, but he refused to allow that to hinder what God called him to do. Acceptance as well as responding is a must if we are going to be used by God for ministry.

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Next, in the process of preparing for ministry is engaging ministry academically. Let’s face it, ministry continues to evolve. Today more Christians are taking advantage of getting a good education than in times past. As a result, more Christians tend to be more intellectually comprehensive. Therefore, studying along with getting a solid education can be a supplemental benefit to the calling on your life. Paul understood this fact as he instructed Timothy to “study to show thyself approved unto God” (2 Timothy 2:15 KJV). It is not that we rely on our intellect alone in doing ministry, but a good education expands our thinking and adds substance to what we have already acquired through the word of God. Studying is also key in helping us grow spiritually. Therefore, I plan to continue my education, starting with a Bachelor’s degree in Religion in Biblical and Theological Studies. After which I will seek God’s will as to what my next move should be in pursuing my educational goals. As for my alone time with God, the first thing I plan to do is to commit a minimum of two hours a day in prayer. According to 1 Thessalonians 5:17, we are to “pray without ceasing.” In his book Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, Donald S. Whitney cites Martin Luther as he states, “As it is the business of tailors to make clothes and of cobblers to make shoes, so it is the business of Christians to pray” (Whitney 2014, 48). In other words, prayer is an obligation and we should make it a priority in our lives. In addition to prayer, one of the greatest ways to grow spiritually is through God’s word. The word of God is like what a manual is to a newly purchased product. A manual lists the specifications as to how a product is assembled and how it operates. The word of God is no different, because it gives us sufficient information as how to operate as Christians. Therefore, in my daily devotion to God I am committing myself to at least one chapter a day if not more. The main pitfall I can foresee, is becoming distracted with busyness of everyday life, but I am committed to staying focused on growing spiritually so I can fulfill the assignment God has called me to.

The Motives of Ministry

First and foremost, I believe the local church is like the training grounds where seasoned and future ambassadors of Christ go to worship, and to receive impartation through those that have been qualified by God. It is a place where we go to fellowship with other believers through the “breaking of bread and the prayers” according to Acts 2:42 (ESV). It also a place where sinners can come and be presented with the gospel in a way that not only convicts but gives hope for a better future. If I were a pastor the role of the gospel would be the central objective for my ministry. I would make sure it is presented in every function whether it be the worship service or children’s ministry. The gospel is for everyone; therefore, I would teach members of my congregation to take advantage every opportunity given to share it with fellow believers as well as those outside of the local assembly. Furthermore, I would train leaders to present the gospel with the mind of Christ.

According to Dr. Ben Gutierrez, the mind of Christ means operating in unity which is broken down into three actions: unity of affection, unity of spirit, and unity of purpose (Gutierrez 2011, 26-30). The unity of affection requires a total commitment to loving one another despite of our differences. In other words, it means loving people for who they are and on days that it is difficult to do so (Gutierrez 2011, 25). There was no greater example than that of Jesus Christ as he demonstrated compassion to everyone he encountered, even to those who hated him. The next action deals with how to operate with the unity of spirit. The unity of spirit teaches us to be on one accord like “soul mates” (Gutierrez 2011, 26). This means understanding the likes and dislikes of those we work with in ministry and being able to work through our differences for the sake of the big picture which is purpose. In Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis writes, “His will is to become ours and we are to think His thoughts, to have the mind of Christ” (Lewis 1952, 224). Therefore, to demonstrate the unity of purpose of purpose, we must forsake our own agendas and work together to fulfill his will and the assignment he has called us to in our local assemblies. Specifically, I would teach leaders the actions of Christ as he ministered to others and give them opportunities to demonstrate an understanding of these actions by putting them into practice. I believe the best way to learn is a hands-on approach.

The Essentials of Ministry

My essentials of ministry are similar to what was discussed in Everyday Ministry with minimal differences. I consider the essentials of ministry as the following: vision, responding to the call of God, prayer, meditation, training, maintaining an eternal perspective, and lastly, reflecting Christ. In Proverbs 29:18, the bible states, “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (KJV). In other words, what the Proverb was saying is that without a vision a ministry would be destroyed. It can be described as the blind leading the blind; at some point it will lead to destruction. A vision of helps a ministry understand its identity and the purpose for which you have been called. However, a vision is ineffective without a response. God does not call a ministry to hear himself speak, but purpose is attached to the vision and we get a better understanding of that purpose through prayer. Prayer is part of the way we communicate with God. It is through prayer that we receive direction and guidance on how to proceed with the vision. It reminds me of a GPS system which gives you step-by-step directions on how to get to a destination. However, it does not always warn us of obstacles ahead, such as road work causing delays in traffic. Spiritually, this is where meditation on God’s word is beneficial. When we face obstacles in the vision, the word of God gives us encouragement and offer a better perspective on what we face. God has never stated that we would not face obstacles, but he did give us the assurance that “we can do all things through Christ” (Philippians 4:13 KJV). We must keep in mind that God’s vision for our ministry expands far beyond the walls of our local churches, and it is directly connected to the kingdom which is universal. So, as we execute the vision God has given us we can maintain the right perspective, with an understanding that the vision is bigger than us. Consequently, when we maintain the right perspective we reflect the image of Christ. It is important to remember that the church is the bride of Christ, and a good bride seeks to please her mate. As, previously stated, I believe the best way to learn is a hands-on approach. I would incorporate these essentials with training and application. The training would include prayer and meditation sessions where we pray and meditate on scriptures to receive clear directions and guidance for the vision. I would also create periodic forums where leaders get together and share ideas with one another. Finally, I would place leaders in qualified positions to apply what they have learned. I believe demonstration and reflection is required to measure how far we have grown.

The Methods of Ministry

The method I would incorporate in my ministry is the mentorship method. As we train others we must keep in mind that ministry is progressive and continues to evolve. Therefore, the vision of a ministry would be hindered if we do not impart the wealth of knowledge we have received of God into others. As we have learned in our studies, instead of taking on the tasks of meeting the needs of the crowds that followed him, he appointed 12, named them apostles to be with him, and sent them out to preach (Early & Gutierrez 2010, 2442). This is famously known as The Great Commission. In this commission Jesus instructs his disciples to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20 NIV). This is how the gospel works in favor of the kingdom. As we fast-forward in scripture, we can witness the amazing results of mentoring. According to the book of Acts, “Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added” (Acts 2:41 NIV). This event would have been even more remarkable to witness first-hand. I view the mentorship method as a bridge between receiving the gospel and sharing it with others. Somewhere in the middle is where mentorship and training take place before we can send out disciples to spread the gospel to all nations. We must also keep in mind that there is equal responsibility in the mentoring process. As mentors we are to teach, train, and be a godly example to those who follow our leadership. As for the mentee, they have the responsibility of learning and being obedient to what has been taught. Together we work together as one as we continue in making more disciples for Christ.

It is important for us to reach all people no matter what age they are, however, I have a sincere passion for millennials. I believe this would be my target audience because the millennial generation is our future. It will be their responsibility to carry the torch we were once responsible for. It is not that I feel it is my responsibility to reach all millennials on my own, but I would incorporate evangelistic programs where millennials can reach other millennials. I believe when millennials see other millennials operate with a passion for God, ministry becomes more attractive and they are willing to accept the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Conclusion

Your philosophy of ministry defines your perspective of how you view ministry and what type of ministry you feel would be successful in. Every ministry does not fit our personal philosophy; however, every ministry should have the same foundation, which is the gospel of Jesus Christ. As for my personal philosophy I believe in accepting the call of God with passion, while engaging spiritually and academically. Also, as I engage in ministry I believe in incorporating eight essentials: vision, responding to God’s voice, prayer, meditation on the word of God, training and mentoring, maintaining an eternal perspective in my purpose, and lastly, reflecting the image of Christ. As for my preferred method of ministry, I believe in a mentoring approach, which means training others to go out and make disciples for Christ. In mentoring, I hope to utilize the millennials of my ministry to reach other millennials. In the end, my prayer is that God will bless my personal philosophy of ministry and when I stand before him I can hear him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:23 ESV).

References

  1. Early, Dave, & Gutierrez, Ben. (2010). Everyday ministry: Applying the Christian faith.
  2. Nashville, Tennessee: B&H Publishing Group.
  3. Whitney, Donald S. (2014). Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian life: (3rd ed.). Colorado Springs, Colorado: NAVPRESS.
  4. Gutierrez, Ben. (2014). Thinking Like Jesus: Understanding the Mind of Christ. Nashville, Tennessee: Lifeway Church Resources.
  5. Lewis, C. S. (2009). Mere Christianity: A Revised and Amplified Edition, with a New Introduction, of Three Books, Broadcast Talks, Christian Behaviour, and Beyond Personality. San Francisco, California: HarperCollins Publishers.    

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