When I was just starting in ministry, one of my most respected mentors said something to me that I’ve never forgotten. As I was venting to him about feeling like a one-man show in my young church, he put his arm around me and said, “Nelson, remember, every member in your church is a minister. You are not in this alone unless you choose to be.”
Every member is a minister. I’m sure you’ve heard that assertion time and time again. It may even be one of the core values of your church. Honestly, when I first heard the statement, I wasn’t sure exactly what it meant. But now, after decades in ministry and countless hours spent working with pastors around the world, I realize just how deep this truth runs and how important it is when you are working to lead a God-honoring, effective church.
At The Journey, we have built our theology of ministry around eight theological foundations. Now, you don’t have to adopt our theology ministry carte blanche, but here’s what I do ask of you: Use these eight principles to help you think critically about how and why people serve in your church. As you work through each one, let it spur you toward clarifying your own theology of ministry, so you can move forward with building your ministry system on a proper foundation.
Principle #1: Ministry simply means to serve.
We often confuse people with our language. When your members hear you say that you want them to get involved with ministry, they don’t understand what that really means. You and I understand that we are simply asking our people to volunteer, so make sure your members understand that being involved in ministry doesn’t mean they have to go to seminary or join the staff.
Principle #2: Serving is the act of putting the needs of others before your own needs.
Serving is an expression of selflessness. Unfortunately, our modern cultural mindset is one of wanting to be served rather than serving – and that’s as true in our churches as anywhere else. In fact, I believe that selfishness is one of the greatest sins we face in today’s church. We have a duty lead others toward the life of service that Jesus emulated. As he says in Matthew 20:28, “For even I, the son of man, came here not to be served, but to serve others.”
Join me next week for the next two principles.
Your partner in ministry,
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