What is Ministry?

“Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”       ~~Matthew 20:28

“…and took upon him the form of a servant…”     ~~Philippians 2:7

What does it mean to live “ministry” life? For as long as I can remember, I have equated being “in ministry” only with those who were in “full-time ministry”: the pastors, staff members, evangelists, missionaries, teachers, etc. whose livelihoods came from churches or their associated ministries.  For the past few months, I have honestly felt a little lost. When we began our life together almost 15 years ago, we surrendered our lives and our home to “full-time service” and willingly followed the Lord wherever He would have us to go in pursuit of that calling. Then, life happened, and circumstances we may never fully understand landed us in a time of transition between ministries: a season when being “full-time” was relegated only to memories of the past and hopes for the future. For two solid years, we have prayed and waited and prayed and waited and prayed and waited for the Lord to open a door to another ministry position!! As I write this, we are still praying and waiting, which has lead me to ask, “What about the present? How can I write about living ministry life when, at this point, we are not really ‘in ministry’?”  This time of transition has taught me many things (which I may write more about in the future), but one of the most important is that our entire Christian life is supposed to be about ministering to others. After all, isn’t that what ministry is about in the first place? It is not about position or prestige or programs. Though having a full-time position may bring a certain prestige and may require participation in various programs, that is not the heartbeat of ministry. In truth, ministry is about people: it is about building relationships and serving others. Indeed, the foundation of all ministry (and, therefore, of Biblical leadership) is a servant’s heart! That is what Jesus had. Jesus Christ, the only man ever truly capable of speaking with all knowledge and authority (prestige), chose to leave his Heavenly position to come to this earth and live the life of a servant!  I have determined that, as we wait for God to show us His plan regarding full-time ministry, I will ask the Lord to give me the opportunity to serve and minister to people who are hurting! When the Lord does answer our prayers and fulfill our desire to return to a full-time position, I will continue to ask Him to guide me to those who are in need of a friendly smile, a kind word, or a helping hand. Certainly, I have not conquered this necessary aspect of ministry, but I would like to believe that I have learned something over the last two years: there are hurting people everywhere. There will always be people in need; and, therefore, there will always be a chance to live “ministry” life!

One Big, Happy Family: Making the Holiday Season Enjoyable for Your Staff

christmas-554720_640Before I offer some practical ways to make the holidays enjoyable for ministry families, allow me to say that this is written primarily to help and encourage the pastor’s wife as she seeks to develop strong bonds with the wives of the men who serve alongside her husband. These “family” ties will be vital to the success of the ministry. Though your husband bears the majority of the responsibility for leading the staff, you can play a key role in helping the wives be active, excited participants in the many ministries of the church. Continue reading “One Big, Happy Family: Making the Holiday Season Enjoyable for Your Staff”

Suffering in Silence: Ministering (Part 3) – Reach Out to Help

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Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2

“I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak…” Acts 20:35

 “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love…” Romans 12:10

“Remember them…which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.” Hebrews 13:3

As Christians, we are to follow the example of Christ by willingly serving others (Philippians 2:7). Our relationships in this life, both with other Christians and with the lost, are to be characterized by charity, kindness, brotherly love, and any of the other virtues that we would want bestowed upon us in our time of need (Luke 6:31). Sometimes, in our service through the ministries of the church, we look for ways to help behind the scenes. (Who puts up the seasonal decorations you see when you come in for services? Who cleans the nursery or the bathrooms? Who vacuums the hallways or changes the lightbulbs?) These areas of service are necessary and important to the work of the church, and those who do them should not be overlooked when we are giving out our thanks. Investing in others, however, will often require that our service literally become more hands-on! No matter what our insecurities or fears, we must reach out to offer support to those who are grieving loss. Continue reading “Suffering in Silence: Ministering (Part 3) – Reach Out to Help”

Three Ways to Pray for Those Who Are Hurting


praying-614374_640 (1)Recently, I was asked to write a guest post about prayer for the blog of a friend’s church in South Louisiana. After the events that we have faced over the last 12-18 months, I was not sure that prayer was the best thing for me to write about. After all, we had prayed about several things that had not turned out the way we had hoped. How could I write about prayer when it seemed that the only answers we had been receiving were “no” and “wait”? Don’t most articles on prayer focus on how we can get anything and everything we pray for if we just believe that God can and will do it? How could I encourage people about prayer when we were still waiting for answers ourselves? As I reflected over our most recent journey, I began to think about all of the people who have told us that we are in their prayers. As Christians, we know that God knows best and that, in the end, His way in perfect; but sometimes that knowledge is clouded by the daily struggles and unanswered questions we face. Our aching hearts cry out to Him, “Why, Lord?” When we are hurting, there is no greater encouragement than the whisper of a friend who says, “I am praying for you.” In the darkest moments of life, those few words can help a struggling brother or sister find the strength to face another day. We have heard those words many times throughout this last year, usually just when we needed them. It was as if the Lord was saying, “I know you don’t understand. I know you are having to wait, but, while you are waiting, I will send comfort through the thoughts, words, and deeds of faithful friends.” Thank you, Lord, for giving us Christian brothers and sisters who will pray for us in our time of need! What follows is the article I wrote after much thought about prayer and those who are hurting!

Continue reading “Three Ways to Pray for Those Who Are Hurting”