8. The Church: My New Community and Sphere of Service!
The Article: The New Testament Church—Its Ministry
Some misunderstandings are funny. Some, however, are not funny and have desire consequences as a result of the confusion. Such is the case with the improper understanding of the ministry of the church. The article first seeks to establish the point, misunderstood in our church culture, that all Christians are to be involved in ministry, not just the pastors, teachers, and gifted evangelists.
Ministry in the New Testament can be defined as service which is beneficial to the saints. Though there are perhaps three or more Greek terms used to describe ministry, each of which having slightly different nuance, the basic root idea is service broadly speaking. The only delimitation on service is that it is characterized as beneficial to God’s people the church.
The two fundamental principles which underlie this concept of ministry in the New Testament—the concept of each believer serving in areas beneficial to the body—are (1) the doctrine of spiritual gifts (1 Cor 12:4-7), and (2) the doctrine of the priesthood of every believer (1 Peter 2:5-9). 1 Corinthians 12:4-7 discusses the diversity in unity that arises from each of us possessing different gifts and 1 Peter 2:5-9, Romans 12:1, Hebrews 13:15-16 stressing the sacrificial nature of the service we are to render.
1. How does your church view “the ministry”?
2. What is positive about your church’s view and what needs rethinking?
3. What are the two foundational principles which underscore the necessary involvement of all Christians in service?
4. What is your spiritual gift(s) and how could you serve in your church?
5. Why is it necessary to talk about the sacrificial aspects of ministry? How is that connected to the example of Christ?