What is Ministry?

And a certain man who had been lame from his mother’s womb was being carried along, whom they used to set down every day at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, in order to beg alms of those who were entering the temple. And when he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he began asking to receive alms. And Peter, along with John, fixed his gaze upon him and said, “Look at us!” And he began to give them his attention, expecting to receive something from them.  But Peter said, “I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene– walk!”

– Act 3:2-6 (NAS)

Grant and I had the privilege to be at the Moody Pastor’s Conference this last week. Over the next few weeks I will share a few things from that conference because the speakers were fantastic.  Skye Jethani was one of the speakers and I want to pass on a couple of key things he mentioned when talking about the nature of ministry. Skye was in a chaplain ministry for a period of his life and he was told this one key thing by his mentor when he began this ministry. “Every time you enter a room you represent the presence of God.”Skye used the hospital room as a metaphor for whatever place, space or circumstance you are presently living. It can be a neighborhood, work place, a relationship, a part of the country or whatever circumstance that you find yourself.

  • In Christianity God did not create us to serve Him. God created us to represent Him.
    • In most religions people exist to serve (a) god or the gods; to meet their needs, to appease them by doing their bidding and usually live life in some fear of messing up. If we see life and ministry first as representingChrist because we are created in His image, rather than serving God we change the nature of ministry and give dignity to everyone we connect with.
    • The church often has a very narrow view of ministry. The church can often limit ministry to programming and performance. Success is just adding people, making it bigger and better and being successful based on standards that God does not even use. Ministry needs to be about representing Christ in every place we find ourselves.
  • We often are called by God to represent Christ in the place that we may not have chosen or desire to be.
    • “Are you willing to represent the presence of God in the room you are living rather than the room you wished you were in?”So many Christians undermine their own effectiveness in representing Christ “in the room (place) they find themselves” because they are spending all their time complaining about where they are and wishing (or scheming) on how to get to a different room or place in life.
  • Rehabilitation ought to be the focus of ministry. Rehabilitation is to bring restoration of dignity and value and worth notbased on our usefulness but based on being created in God’s image.
    • Ministry is not about getting people to make our program successful but bringing the presence of Christ into whatever room, or place that we find ourselves. Many churches value people based on their usefulness to a program rather than being created in the image of God. If ministry is about making me look good, do what you want. But if ministry is about representing God in every place we find ourselves then it is all about Him.
  • The greatest ministry statement of Acts 3:1-7 –“Look at us…”
    • One of the greatest ministry statements of Peter is affirming the dignity of this crippled beggar by simply saying, “Look at us…”and treating him as a person of value rather than an inconvenience on their way to prayer meeting.
    • We may not meet every need but we can give them Jesus. This is not just something we can do but the most important ministry we can do.

Sincerely in Christ,

Brad Little