What is Ministry?

Posted by on Oct 23, 2013 in Faith | 0 comments

What is Ministry?

I used to do a lot of “ministry.” You know, churchy stuff. Like donating canned goods when church had a food drive, or contributing Christmas gifts when church collected them for needy families. Like serving as an Altar Captain at church (Don’t ask. Just know it was legit ministry). Like planning, designing, and presenting large scale projects for certain ministry departments within church.

Then a lot of things changed in my life and it seemed God lifted me out of every place of service all at once. I had my first baby and it appeared that He cleared the way for me to devote the bulk of my attention to my little family. My ministry opportunities at church thinned out, my work commitments even came to a close. I found myself at home with a baby feeling like I wasn’t doing much of any importance at all. I knew in my head that nurturing new life was the most important job of all, but in all of the mundane tasks of motherhood I often missed the things I used to do that had tangible results. This feeling of being and doing nothing earth shattering hung over me for a couple of years.

Until God told me one day that I actually do still have a ministry outside of my ministry to my family. I didn’t recognize it as such because the ministry he gave me for this season is pretty exclusively behind-the-scenes and it’s not at all churchy. It consists simply of seeing the people right in front of me who have needs and reaching out to love them in whichever way He guides me.

Take a meal to a friend with health issues? I can do that! Invite a new neighbor struggling with some personal problems over for coffee? I can do that too! Reach out to someone new in town to include her with my friends? The more the merrier! Buy groceries for a family going through a tough financial time? Okay! Pray with an elderly neighbor recently diagnosed with cancer? Done! Get Bug and Bear in the kitchen to help me cook and bake and take more meals to more people? Sure, cooking with my kids is fun!

“This. Is. Ministry.” said my God who is all about loving people in hands-on, relational ways.

Then my ideas about “ministry” were further overhauled. He showed me that every person I come in contact with is someone to love in service to Him. The checker at Wal Mart. The other mom swinging her child alongside mine at the park. The lovely young woman who watches my kids when I work. I started praying that the people Husband and I both need to employ in our small businesses would be people who needed a family to invest in them. He brought people for us to invest in and bless, and oh how they blessed us right back. People who “minister” often show up in the most unlikely packages, not as ministers at all but as those who need something from us that requires us to grow in a certain area.

All of my ideas of “church” and “ministry” got a makeover that I think made them more attractive. Church is not meeting with other people like yourself within the safe walls of a beautiful building. Church is going out in the ugly messed up world and really seeing people, loving people, serving people – all people, not just church people (this is even in the Bible, I promise). Ministry is not just joining in your church sponsored initiatives. Ministry is taking the initiative to go to the hurting people who you come in contact with on a daily basis and offer hope, encouragement, help, and friendship. I am not saying it’s not important to meet in a church or support your church’s ministries. I am saying it is important to remember to look around you when you leave the church building and notice all of the people in your life who may not go to your church but need you to be The Church just the same.



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