Ministry is not just what our pastors and ministers do. All Christians are to minister based on their gifts, yet can ministry be misused. The purpose of this study is to explore proper ministry philosophy, for in Christianity our ends do not justify out means. In this second essay, select sections of the New Testament are looked at.

2 Timothy 2:2 and 4:2

Paul’s charge to Timothy recognizes that there are indispensable core precepts in Christianity: “And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Tim 2:2). In a recent journal, Gerald L. Priest Notes:

The ‘things’ are the traditions, the necessary doctrines of Christian Belief … [they are] essential verities of the Christian faith that make Christianity what it is without which Christianity is something else. They are the defining irreducible elements of the faith once delivered unto the saints by the Apostles: the triunity of the sovereign God, creation as the direct act of God, the perfect deity and humanity of the person of Christ, his virgin birth, vicarious atonement, bodily resurrection and second coming, the absolute authority of an inerrant Bible, the utter sinfulness of man, justification by faith alone, eternal punishment in a literal hell for the unregenerate, and eternal reward in heaven for believers.

Through proper leadership the education of the Church takes place; that which Timothy has learned he is commanded to pass on. However, not just the necessary doctrines are to be taught, for Paul takes this one step further, “I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season; convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching” (2 Tim 4:1-2). Paul charges Timothy to preach the word, not when he feels like it or what parts he wants to preach, but all of God’s Scripture always. Preaching the whole Word of God should not be relegated into the background; it is to be the first duty of a Pastor.

As mentioned in the previous post, the education of believers begins at home and specifically with the father; here Paul expands this principle as a responsibility to the Church. To provide assistance in this commission, the Church (and all in it) has a responsibility to uphold and help direct the spiritual head of a family. Therefore, the Church needs to disciple fathers—as necessary—in order to help them provide basic knowledge to their children; namely helping them to serve as an example for their families to follow by loving God.

Acts

Jesus commissioned the church, “and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). The historical account of Acts provides today’s Church with a model to follow. The Church, as presented in Acts, extends their ministry far beyond their constraints. Hence, the notion of whether or not the local church should encompass every possible means of outreach is settled by the example left by the Apostles; the local church has a Biblical mandate to reach out into the surrounding community. To alleviate any confusion, Merriam-Webster defines outreach as, “the extending of services or assistance beyond current or usual limits.” By this definition, the church presented in Acts serves as the pinnacle illustration of Biblical outreach.

While many churches effectively undertake local outreach programs, the world emphasis is often less emphasized. God’s ever commencing dedication to reaching the lost world should further direct a church’s ministry. The apostles lived their lives in accordance to reaching the lost; note Paul, “Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears” (Acts 20:31). Consequently, it is imperative that this attitude is reflected by not only those in the ministry but every Christian who professes faith in Christ. The leaders of the early Christians taught that witnessing is the job of every Christian. David J. MacLeod explains that the Apostles’ “acceptance of this task was perhaps the single most important factor in the astounding outreach and expansion of the early church.” He further explains that it was not simply that Peter, Stephen, James and others diligently spread the news about Christ, but “that all Christians—small and great, rich and poor, slaves and freedmen—made it their consuming passion to tell others about the Lord.” The apostles made no distinction between local evangelism and world missions, therefore we shouldn’t either.

These insights from the Bible should properly direct our thoughts toward God. While the list of passages dealing with ministry are far from exhausted, I believe this give us a good overview.

-Next, an excursus on Romans 1:5-


[1] Gerald L. Priest, “Early Fundamentalism’s Legacy: What It Is And Will It Endure Through The 21st Century?” DBSJ 9 (2004), pp. 303-4.

[2] Caution must be warranted, for Acts is a transitional book. While the ministry of the Apostles can rightly be used as an example for today, it must be understood that the miraculous gifts which surrounded their ministry cannot be expected to reappear today.

[3] David J. MacLeod, “The Witness of John the Baptist to the World: John 1:6-9,” BibSac 160 [July 2003], p. 305.

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