Vibrance in Ministry – what do you mean by the “ministry” part of that?
There’s considerable light directed toward the word “vibrance” here, but it’s important you know what I mean by “ministry” as well.
In a word, it’s “Service“.
(If you’re in a hurry you can click “next” knowing you have have the one-word answer in hand. If you have a couple minutes, I invite you to read on.)
n. pl. min·is·tries
- The act of serving; ministration.
- One that serves as a means; an instrumentality.
The act of serving. As opposed to just thinking about it, you mean? Merely talking it over?
For example, the greeter who meets you at the door Sunday, shakes your hand and says “Good morning. Welcome to First Church.” is serving. If it’s your fourth time in the building this week -or this morning- those words may not mean much. But if you’ve not been inside a church for a couple years and almost talked yourself out of coming this morning, those words mean a lot. That’s ministry. Serving. Helping another in some way. The greeter probably said at some point “I think this is important and I can do this.” so signed up and allowed the schedule that comes out of the office to call the plays. If his or hers is a small church, it might be every week. It’s serving. Helping. Ministry. Giving of oneself to help another. We talk alot about how to keep that service alive, thriving and healthy – vibrant – but it’s also important we know what ministry is.
With that in mind, do you have time for an obviously incomplete list of those who give in ministry at your church?
- The people who make sure the facility is clean and attractive. Safe and healthy. Custodial teams, snow-shovelers, deacons who make sure the heat and air-conditioning are working properly, gardeners who tend to plants and flowerbeds outside (and inside in some churches), those who mow, paint – it’s a big crew!
- The people who make sure the teaching is true to the Word and effectively taught. Teacher trainers, mentors, evaluators, curriculum-chosers, pastors, discipleship teams, small group leaders, Sunday School teachers, Adult Bible Fellowship teachers, evangelism trainers and coaches, youth staff . . . it’s a big responsibility!
- The people who accept the responsibility for focusing the congregation’s attention in the right direction when you come together for worship and praise. Those who plan so each service has a measure of cohesion and continuity. Those who lead the congregation each week, and practice ahead of time to minimize the risk of mistake-distractions. (By the way, audio and video techs, you’re part of that team. You’re the ones that make sure we can hear well and see well and the entire congregation is at your mercy every time you meet together.) It’s those who who welcome everyone in out of life’s frenzy, help you focus on no one but God for an hour, lead you into an awareness of His presence, power and love (to name but a few) then step aside and let you spend time with Him. Those who open the Word and help you apply it to the hum-drum or panic of everyday life . . . it’s a significant role!
- The people who don’t let us forget to care for each other and organize the church’s efforts to see that it’s done Sunday afternoon through Saturday. Those who make sure the elderly have someone who will cheerfully stop by and pick them up on their way to church. Those who say “I’ll watch the children for an hour so you can concentrate. Just hurry back” 😉 Those who make meals and call on the sick, help connect job needs with job hunters. Work on cars for those who can’t afford to take theirs to the shop. Take care of leaves and maintenance for those who can’t . . . it’s love and kindness in action!
There’s more – much more – but you get the idea: Minstry = Service. It’s generosity. It’s giving. And it’s no secret, God loves cheerful givers.
(See 1 Corinthians 12:4-27 for more on how the church is to work together)