“4 Now as we have many parts in one body, and all the parts do not have the same function, 5 in the same way we who are many are one body in Christ and individually members of one another. 6 According to the grace given to us, we have different gifts:
use it according to the standard of one’s[b] faith;
7 if service, in service;
if teaching, in teaching;
8 if exhorting, in exhortation;
giving, with generosity;
leading, with diligence;
showing mercy, with cheerfulness.” (Romans 12:4-8, Holman Christian Standard Version)
What Is Ministry?
A good point is made here. Ministry is not just for people at the front of the room. And it’s not the use of one specific gift. Those who speak in tongues or preach are no better than members who sit quietly with grieving families, or bring a bag of groceries to a neighbor. More denominations are affirming the ministry of all believers. For some, it’s a core belief. For others, it looks like a response to burnout & shrinking membership. Ministering doesn’t require years of education and study. It’s action take to bring people closer to God.
How do you see ministry? How is it set up around you and in your community?
Are there age limits? Does your congregation see certain types of people as “too young” or “past their prime”, unable to help with the “real work” going on? What about gender? Does leadership and decision making power go only to specific genders? And even within that, are people whose gender expression isn’t like everyone else kept to certain types of jobs?
God gives everyone gifts and talents to share, whether their church or denomination wants to accept it or not. If you’re someone who feels led to help others, you may be unsure how. What should you do, and where can you do it? Hopefully, this post can help.
Types of Ministry
Ministry happens in so many way, we could never list them all here. But we’ll look at a few.
- Basic Needs Ministry: Christians, alone or in groups, as well as churches, have helped others with their basic needs since the book of Acts. Today, there are hospitals, food banks, and shelter networks that are all run by faith based organizations. But don’t think that you need to be the person in charge for it to be your ministry call. If no one was there every day to hand out the food, it would rot in storage and do no one any good. Without a grant writer, shelter networks would lose funding and close down. And if hospitals didn’t have janitors, they would be hazardous for people to be healed there.
- Age Related Ministries: Your heart may lead you to work with youth, adults, or the elderly. Those who work with youth need open, nonjudgmental hearts and a lot of energy. Children and teens need activity, answers to their life questions, and help figuring out who they are. Adults often have career, romance, and family inclusion issues to navigate. A big issue in senior ministry is to remember that these are people with still plenty to give to the world. They may not need ministry TO as much as chances to minister to OTHERS.
- Prayer Ministries: This can take many forms. One of the biggest things to remember is that people do actually need training in prayer. Especially prayer in teams and on behalf of other people. The actual forms this ministry takes vary widely. Some pray for people from a list given to them. Others walk a specific neighborhood, praying for the people and businesses there. At times, the entire prayer team may gather to pray for a specific purpose.
- Online Ministries: These include, but extend far beyond, typical social media sites like Facebook, Youtube, and Twitter. There are a lot of people online who need a place to talk out troubles, study Scripture, or just connect with a friendly group. One prevalent online ministry is running an online Bible Study. These can be done on paper, over video, or given right to someone’s inbox. Some churches run podcasts, online radio shows, or simply put their services and events on their website for others to see. The online world is vast, and still becoming more personal every day. As long as you are intentional and open, someone will respond.
How do I get started? The best way to get started is to pray. Ask God to show you where your gifts belong.
- Take a look at the things you’re already doing: Do you run your own website? Look after kids on the weekends? Or maybe your friends already send you facebook messages when they have a problem that they need sorted out. Whatever your gift is, you may already be using it in your everyday life.
- Ask what’s needed in your church/social circles. Sometimes, your ministry is to take talents you use in daily life and bring them into a congregation. Other people may be called to stay outside the walls. Wherever you feel you’re supposed to be, ask what needs to be done. If there’s a hole you can fill, try it out!
Remember, we don’t have gifts so they can sit unused. No matter how little you think of yourself, you can change (or even save) someone’s life. I won’t tell you to work on your self esteem first. In fact, if that’s what you’re hiding behind, stop it. Feel bad about yourself on your down time. Hate yourself every day if you want to. Just help other people while you’re doing it. Time is too short to spend wondering what all your childhood traumas are. Trust me, if you’re using your gifts properly, you’ll find out as you go. I know firsthand.