Christian Ministry. God-reach, In-reach & Out-reach.

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I said a while ago that I wanted to share about my worldview of ministry. I determined when I was a young teenager, that ministry was about lifestyle, it wasn’t about being in an organisation, it was being Jesus’ hands and feet at every moment in life. I still believe this. But oh my, how much harder this is, than I thought it would be. In realising how much I fail God daily, I have come to a much deeper understanding of God’s grace in my life, it is truly amazing as the hymn writer wrote.

I was reading the other day about how we are to fight for our faith, pursue knowing God. This isn’t pursuing the obtaining and storage of head knowledge about God alone, but deep heart stuff, Word of God stuff that divides soul & Spirit, discerning thoughts and intentions of the heart. Reflecting on the Power & might of God, the expanse of the Love & grace of God. Fighting for the Faith.

Hebrews 4:12
“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two- edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

Titus 1:9
“He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.”

Imitating Christ

Paul said, “Imitate me, as I imitate Christ.” 1 Corinthians 11:1 Christ is worth imitating.

I love Jesus’ way of life – His ministry. He walked close with His father, He spent time with Him. It required Him to live by faith, and see abundant provision at every turn. People’s lives were not only touched, but transformed…into His likeness. In the trinity, he knew where he belonged, he was content and he submitted to God, whose authority he was under.

  What does ‘ministry’ look like?

Ministry as Life

When I think of ministry, I consider 3 main aspects. God-reach, In-reach and Out-reach.

If we are Christians – people in a relationship with God, through believing in and accepting the death and resurrection of Jesus as forgiveness for our sins – then we are ministers, we have full-time ministry. Every moment of our lives is ministry and an act of worship to
God the Father.

Society tries to organise ministry – and some quite rightly so. By our sin we are disordered, dysfunctional and disunified. So, there needs to be order put in place. The bible is a good start for this. Orders for marriage, Orders for churches, Orders for leadership.

Yes, ministers employed in the church have a ‘ministry’, but so too does the Christian mother sitting down the back with a screaming child. So too does the Christian inter-state truck driver. How about the Christian accountant? Christian athlete? Christian checkout operator?

It astounds me how frequently congregations are pained at their ministers and elders not visiting them, when they themselves haven’t visited or encouraged any of the congregation because it’s the Pastor’s ministry – not theirs. It also astounds me how many parents so quickly claim that ‘their only’ ministry is to their children – nothing else. It is easy to isolate the concept of ministry, put it away in our ‘bag of tricks’ and pull it out when it’s more suitable and practical, or when our kids have grown up.

I believe that this kind of thinking is restrictive and dangerous. The devil wants us to be effective as little as possible, and what better way to make us point finger and put our ministries in boxes. Go to work. Come home. Go to ministry. Come home. Go to church. Go home. Go to work. Go to ministry… if I’m not too tired.

You dear Christian friend have a ministry. – The way you live your life.

Consider these 3 contributors of ministry…

God-reach – How’s your relationship with God? Do you spend time together? Do you value His word? Do you value meeting together with other Christians throughout your week? A tree that does not have deep and plentiful roots is very quickly destroyed in storm, do you invest in the most precious friendship/relationship you will ever have?

In-reach – Do you encourage, support, build up, contribute to the life of the Church. Stop there. Not just the Baptist church, Presbyterian, 4 square, Methodist, Non-denominational church, but The Church – the Body of Christ? If your a words person do you write a small note of encouragement to the lady you frown at every week for walking in late? If your a gifts person do you make an extra meal one night with your kids and drop it to the lonely widow? Outside of your comfortable group, what do you do to serve the other Christians around you?

Out-reach – Do you contribute to gospel ministry practically locally? internationally? I’m not going to ask whether God has blessed you with time or money to contribute because it’s too easy to say “No he hasn’t, I have no time and I’m skint as it is.” Our expenditure and our time speak of the priorities we have in our lives. As we let God and His Spirit work in our lives, and our priorities change, so too will the way we spend our money and time. When people say to us “How do you do all that you do?” we respond with something like. “Priorities and Prayer.” We generally do a stock take 4 or 5 times a year. We pray and ask God to show us if there’s anything commitment wise that needs changing, ending or beginning. He is so faithful. We have to be willing to sacrifice whatever it is He requires us to sacrifice so that we can be good stewards of our time and money.

I don’t speak these things as one who has attained them or perfected them. Nowhere near. As I write these words, I am speaking to myself, I feel convicted and challenged to press on. Not necessarily do more, but to do what God requires. I have reminders up around the home to remind me, and those who reside in our home of the importance of these areas of our lives.

I determined as a young teenager that I wanted my headstone to read, “She lived her life as a ministry – an act of service to those around her and an act of Worship to God.” Something that can be done all through life, in the mountains, in the valleys, qualified or unqualified, but ONLY by the Grace of God.

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