Saturday, April 30, 2011

A Developing Ministry

1:51 PM
This week in my School of Ministry Development, we spent a week with Dean Sherman learning how to develop our personal ministry. Pretty important week for this school, I'd say! And it was truly great! I learned so much about true ministry and how to minister that are definitely shaping how I view things. One of the most foundational truths I took away from this week is that ministry needs to come out of my lifestyle more than my training. Ministry isn't a bunch of classes and applications, but a lifestyle that changes other people's lives. It's being able to show people how an experience with God revolutionizes someone's life. The greatest aspect about Christianity is the fact that it's not a list of rules and good ideas with a prize at the end, but its a shift in our entire mindset that brings peace, contentment, fulfillment in this life today through a relationship with Jesus Christ. Heaven is just the completion of eternity in relationship with Him. So it's not how much I know that's going to give me an effective ministry, but how I live my life. We looked at the Biblical example of a developing personal ministry through the life of Paul. Other than Jesus, no one else's ministry shaped the early church more. Paul exemplified ministry as lifestyle in every way. Paul also recognized who was the center of his ministry....Jesus. "However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace." - Acts 20:24. If we are selfish in our ministry, or only serving for ourselves, we will burn out! Jesus himself said "And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple." Luke 14:27. Jesus wasn't trying to make it rough on His followers, but telling us it would be impossible. We won't burn out if we are doing what God calls to do the way He calls us to do it. "but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint" Isaiah 40:31. Ministry and serving [which is the same thing, by the way!] should be a joy, not a chore!

Once we had the right perspective on what ministry IS, we discussed what it is NOT, the different focuses of ministry, different ways to minister, the categories or functions of ministry, the foundations of the church [or ministry], the different giftings given to believers by the Holy Spirit, and how to launch our ministry. It was a week packed full of information that I'm still processing and praying through, but its information that will transform any future ministry I'm part of, and the ministry I get to do daily. The best part of the week was the discussion about how if you are a believer, you are part of the Body of Christ and therefore have a function in the body...which is your ministry. Every Christian has a ministry and is called to serve! Isn't that just so freeing?! So minister this week in your job, in your family, in your neighborhood, and in your community. Use your life to point others to Christ, and watch what the Spirit will do. You'll be in for a great week!

About the author

Joy Muldoon is a full-time missionary and part-time blogger. Read about her travels, adventures, and missions here!