The following article is an opinion piece by the author and represents the views of only the author and not necessarily those of AllOnGeorgia.
Ministry Does Not Fit Into A Box
I’ve organized outreach events that literally no one attended. I’ve written things that didn’t go quite as good as I had hoped, and because of that they were ineffective to the reader. The venue where I’ve been most effective in ministry is one-on-one, man on the streets, in the trenches, missionary work.
Read my writing, because I know a lot. Come hear what I’ve got to say because I’m a great speaker. Blah. Blah. Blah. How will your writing minister to someone who cannot see, or to someone who simply cannot read? How will your words speak to the deaf? Answer: They won’t. I’m not saying that it’s a waste of time to preach the gospel. It’s obviously important as we are commanded to do that in the Bible. I am saying that often, people are much more willing to listen to what you’ve got to say after you have proven that you are willing to inconvenience yourself for them.
Disclaimer: I don’t have anything against seminary, or any other form of biblical schooling or training, if it is, in fact biblical. With that said, one of my favorite passages in the Bible is Acts 4:13. Peter and John had been arrested and brought to trial before the religious leaders of the day because they were preaching about Jesus and had healed a man. They knew that Peter and John weren’t “trained” or “educated.” As a matter of fact, the Greek word used in the Bible to describe the Pharisees view of these men was “Idiotes” which means ignorant. It’s where we get the English word- Idiot. However, when they were questioned, they answered so boldly, with so much confidence, that the Pharisees knew the only explanation was that these men had been with Jesus. Not to mention, the guy they healed, showed up at their trial to prove what they had done!
All that is to say; if you’re waiting on someone to tell you to start your ministry, you’re wasting time. If you don’t feel like you can help the Kingdom because you have never been to seminary, or because you’ve never been ordained, or you don’t have a license, you are missing the point. The fact that you aren’t a Bible scholar may open a door to talk to someone who can relate to that. Hebrews 13:21 says, “Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” That means, if God wants you to do something, he’ll give you the tools to do it. That may mean some type of formal training. It may mean that he will put the words in your mouth, or give you the plan to go out and minister to people.
The idea of ministry scares some people. A lot of us think of ministry as standing up in front of a big group of people and talking. For many people, that is the scariest thing we can think of. Ministry doesn’t fit in a box. It can be preaching a sermon. Or hosting a neighborhood Bible study. It can also be bringing in the mail for your elderly neighbor. Or cutting grass for people who aren’t able. Maybe it’s gathering donations for people who have experienced a disaster, or helping them rebuild. Ministry is unlimited in scope, and in need. As long as there are people on this planet, the work will not end.
God doesn’t live inside of a box. Don’t try to put his work into one. Something you DO could have more bearing on the Kingdom than anything you have to SAY.
Danny Burnham Religion Contributor