We Are Connected by The Spirit of Christ
What is ministry?
For most of my life I thought ministry was relegated to the official clergy. I would hear adults say, “The minister will be here,” or “Who will be the minister?” I heard it used as a title, such as Minister Brown. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I learned for the Christian, there is much, much more to it than that. Or, there should be.
Ministry can be the simple act of being present with someone experiencing emotional or physical distress. Most of us have experienced it. Just having someone sit quietly with us, without offering comment or solutions.
Prayer is a form of ministry. It is a spiritual act of pleading for intervention on behalf of another, or many others if the prayer is for a nation, a group, a family, or people affected by disaster.
Ministry is also the sacramental celebrations of the church. Holy Communion, baptism, and, in some denominations, marriage fall into this category. While these sacramental celebrations are conducted by ordained members of the clergy, all Christians are ministers by reason of their baptism.
All Christians have a responsibility to visit and pray for the sick and injured and to rejoice with the joyful. They are to share in the joys of their Christian brothers and sisters and offer comfort during periods of grief. We are all called, but we may be called to different ministries.
Each Christian possesses gifts given by God that affect our worship, Bible study, prayer, witnessing, and power. We are commanded to “serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received” (1 Pet 4:11). Learning how to discern our unique gifts is for another time. Once we understand what gifts He has provided, we cannot hide them. That would be like hiding our light under a bushel.
If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.. 1 Pet 4:11
Not every Christian is called to preach, or teach, or lead. Ministry can be in feeding others, reaching out to others in times of stress, volunteering, or even writing about the Lord for a newsletter, or singing hymns for a funeral service.
One of the books that I am reading is “Aging and Ministry in the 21st Century.” It isn’t a long book, but it is hard for me to focus on. The chapters discuss a variety of topics that seniors are facing. Chapters discuss what it means to grow old, chronic conditions and cognitive aging, retirement issues, spirituality, and aging, and facing death for the aging. It is hard for me because I see my father going through many of these issues, and most of my church members as well.
While I feel I should be ministering more to the older members of my church, it is emotionally challenging for me. I am sensitive to the pain they are experiencing, and I fear they will notice it, adding to their stress.
Do these things fit with your idea of ministry? Was there a time, perhaps even now, when you felt a call to minister? How did you handle it?