Ministry is service. Therefore, by definition, we are in ministry for the benefit of others, not ourselves.
If you are serving in the children’s ministry, this means you are serving so that the children may learn to follow Jesus. If you are a volunteer at student camp, it is so that students might deepen their relationship with Jesus and each other. If you are leading an adult or college small group, it is so that those in your group might experience the presence of the Body of Christ around them. If you are a missionary, it is so that people in a culture other than your own might come to know Christ. If you are a greeter on Sunday mornings, it is so that others might have a great first experience.
This line of thinking also applies to those in vocational ministry or ministry leadership. Pastors, Elders, and church staff members exist to serve the congregation and help equip them to do the work of the ministry. As followers of Jesus, we are ALL CALLED TO SERVE (Pastor, Elder, and congregant alike). And this should not surprise us … after all Jesus Himself came “not to be served but to serve, and to give His life.”
And … all this service glorifies God – the chief end of all things.
Even though this is the clear focus of Scripture, we can easily get it twisted. We are tempted to take on a ministry role to fill some need to feel important, validate ourselves in some way, or receive some other benefit. To be clear, ministry is personally satisfying in so many ways … but that is not what it is all about.
When ministry is all about “what can I get out of it” we tend to quit when it is hard, when persecution starts, when it costs us something, or when we get tired. If our calling is found in our comfort, then we will cancel our commitments when we are challenged. But if our calling is to serve, then we serve as long as there are needs in the lives of those around us. And how long are there going to be needs? Well … I’ll let you do the math.
Over the past number of weeks, we have been walking through 2 Corinthians 4-7 in our Sunday services at Wildwood. As we have done so, we have seen how we might endure on the mission Christ has called us to. This week, in part 6 of the “Mission:Endure” series, we will be looking at 2 Corinthians 6:1-13 and remembering the durable SERVANT FOCUS of ministry that we desperately need to keep going for the long haul. See you Sunday in our 8:30, 9:45, or 11:00 service … and bring friends. It will be a joy to serve you by speaking on this passage!