Mon, 01/21/2008 – 19:46 — David Watson
Ministry is the meeting of people’s needs inside and outside of the church. It is our ministry to one another as Christians that demonstrates our love for each other to non-believers. It is our ministry to everyone that opens the door to share our faith and the Gospel with those who do not yet know Christ as their personal Savior.
Without ministry there is no evidence that being a Christian is any different from not being a Christian. It is our actions that demonstrate our faith. It is our actions that the lost world judges. Our actions are most often the first contact a non-believer has with a Christian. It is imperative, if we want to see churches started, that lost people see us genuinely meeting each other’s needs as well as the perceived needs of the communities in which we live and/or serve.
When Jesus sent the disciples out, He instructed them to heal the sick, raise the dead, drive out the demons, and tell about the Kingdom of God. (See Matthew 10, Luke 9, and Luke 10.) It was by meeting people’s needs that the disciples gained access to communities in order to tell them about the Kingdom of God.
In a recent meeting of African church planters, one told the story of a church planter providing to a village a donkey to haul water up from the river for the ladies of the village. No one had ever done this before, and it was a great help to the ladies who had been putting water jars on their heads and walking up the steep hill to the village. The help led to questions of “Why?” The answers to “Why” led to discussions about God, which led to a family coming to Christ and a church being started.
A friend of mine commented on one occasion that if we drive past a house in our community that has a broken window or a leaky roof and we do not fix it, we are not Christians. He went on to say that what will transform our communities for Christ is the meeting of individual and community needs. If we can do so personally, then we should. If the project is more than one person can do, then we should form ministry groups to meet the need. This shares the financial and/or time requirements to meet the need.
There was a lady in my community that required more time than I could personally give in order to meet her needs. I was able to recruit four other families to join me in the ministry to this lady. Her needs were meet. She became a believer. Her family soon followed her into the church.
As church planters we are always aware of lostness. But, in order to meet lostness we must quickly access the needs of the community and begin to meet those needs. As we do so, we meet people and have a chance to engage them in significant spiritual conversations that can lead to family-based Bible Studies. These Discovery Bible Studies bring families face to face with their Creator and their need for salvation. Jesus is introduced and families come to Christ, are baptized, and a new church is established.
Ministry to each other demonstrates to non-believers that we are different in a good way. Ministry to the community demonstrates that we are a part of the community and that we care about our neighbors. Ministry to the lost gives us access to share who we are in Christ, and give them the opportunity to choose to join us in our life with Christ.
Ministry is essential to proving we are Christian. Ministry is essential to gaining access to families in order to share the Gospel. Ministry is essential to transforming individuals, families, and communities. Ministry is the part of the Gospel that speaks the loudest to lost people. It is the Word of God and our witness to the Word that clarifies ministry, brings understanding, and provides opportunity for those who are lost to be found in Christ.
Ministry without the Word is incomplete. The Word without ministry is disobedience.