Introduction: The Importance of Philosophy | Part I: New Testament Passages
Excursus: Romans 1:5 | Part II: Holiness | Part III: Personal Separation
Part IV: Positional Separation | Excursus: Music

In summary of the past few weeks, Deuteronomy 6:4-7 points towards loving God and living a life in accordance with passing on that imperative. Paul solidifies this directive in 2 Timothy, he centers on preaching the word and passing on this charge to faithful men who are committed to God. Collectively, these passages form a basis for ministry established upon passing on the love of God. In addition, the historical account of Acts records that the early church was intent on reaching out to everyone everywhere. Also, Romans 1:5 represents Paul’s missionary mindset, obedience and faith jointly is to be brought to all the nations. Together, these passages display the God directed goal of reaching the lost. Lastly, Leviticus 11:44, 1 Peter 1:16, and 1 John 2:15 focus on the divine imperative that the chosen of God are to not to partake in worldly attitudes and pleasures. This notion is underscored by 1 Corinthians 8-10, outlining the means of determining personal standards of separation, which is also in accordance with 2 Peter and Jude, expressing the need for ecclesiastical separation.

This study will now conclude by overlaying six key-areas of ministry (which were mentioned in the first essay of this series) upon the latticework of Scripture presented above. It is important to note that at this juncture there are many other aspects to formulating a true biblical philosophy for ministry; it is for this reason the aspects offered below should be viewed as inclusive. Furthermore, none of the aspects below should be placed on a pedestal as more important than any other, each key-area should function in harmonic interrelation with all other areas of ministry.

Separation

To begin with, a ministry should have an understanding of Biblical separation and have predetermined guidelines of conduct which professing believers are to follow. While 1 Corinthians 8-10 provides a starting point for determining these standards, it must be understood that Paul’s discussion pertains to disputable matters; in essence, these are personal convictions that an individual arrives at. Therefore, these principles should be taught to the church body and not enforced upon them for every believer’s walk is distinct and ever changing. To the young in Christ, deference should be taught, which in turn will guide them to maturity. In the realm of positional separation, it is imperative that believers have a basic understanding of doctrine and are protected from false teaching. Separation is an essential element to any ministry for it provides a barrier of protection from the world. Believers are to live in the world and bring others to the saving love of Christ; they accomplish this by holding to God centered convictions and by not following the attitudes and pleasures of the world.

Worship

Proper worship always centers on God. The present culture of the modern world is looking for a quick spiritual fix. True and humble worship must first come from the pastor, for he guides those placed under his care towards God. The heart of a believer must be directed toward loving God with all of his heart, soul and might (see Deut 6:5). The proper use of preaching, teaching, and music all help guide one towards a true worship experience. Lastly, it must be understood that worship is completely unhindered by location (see John 4:21-24) and entirely spiritual in nature. Therefore, the praise of the saints must be a genuine outcry of the heart centered on bringing glory and honor to God. It should be noted that on Sunday mornings Christians do not come together for worship; Christians are 24/7 worshipers who come together for communal edification and renewal.

Education

The education of believers is one of the single most important areas of ministry; for the education of the saints directly relates to their ability to combat false teachings (see 2 Peter and Jude). Furthermore, the education of the family is paramount to the success of a ministry; a father is commanded to teach his family the love of God (see Deut 4-7). To aid in this endeavor the church has a responsibility to help fathers in their charge. In addition, the church has a responsibility to teach believers why they are called to follow specific ideological, scriptural, doctrinal, and ethical beliefs. For the doctrine of separation is to be upheld, the congregation must be educated as to why they are to hold to the above mentioned standards. If the church fails to properly educate the laity a legalistic frame of mind may quickly set in. In essence, education should guide a church towards proper attitudes and greater understanding of their faith.

Outreach

As seen throughout the New Testament, the early church flourished through witnessing to others and then passing on that charge to others. While a church does have a responsibility to the surrounding community, an equally essential responsibility lies in sending out others to evangelize the world. The apostles gave no distinction between local and world outreach; a lost soul is a lost soul. Therefore, it is imperative that church leaders educate those entrusted to their care in missions and outreach; to foster a desire to bring about a faith founded obedience to all that they come into contact with. This was Paul’s intense longing to the entire world (see Rom 1:5).

Success

In the aesthetically driven culture of today, those in the ministry must refrain from appealing to the masses in order to achieve great numbers. From a worldly perspective numbers are the prime focus; however, from a Biblical perspective numbers mean nothing. A successful ministry centers around teaching and preaching the entire Word of God (see 2 Tim 4:2). It must be understood that winning souls is the side effect of a Biblically successful ministry; not its sole focus. The burden of success lies on the leadership, the pastor is called to be faithful to God’s Word, and the responsibility of everything else rests on God; for He alone provides, “And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith” (Acts 6:7).

Leadership

Lastly a strong Biblical leader is essential to the ministry. It is imperative that he allows the Holy Spirit to guide his ministry and not make it his own. A true Biblical leader will naturally be an exemplary example of Deuteronomy 6:5. He will guide his ministry towards loving God and, as Paul wrote to Timothy, will train others to pass on this knowledge. A Biblical leader directs others towards separation, worship, education, outreach, and success. Furthermore, he will train others as Paul instructed Timothy (see 2 Tim 2:2) to carry on the charge of ministry.

A clear and Biblically grounded philosophy of one’s ministry should be structured in order to assist a church and provide direction. At the forefront of every ministry must be a strong biblically grounded education. This is not to say that a college level of Bible understanding is required in the congregation, but that the essential basic doctrines of the faith are understood. Separation from worldly attitudes must be understood, with clear principles taught. A desire for reaching the lost must be fostered in the hearts of a congregation, without forsaking the ministry to their friends, neighbors, and coworkers. These notions underscore a Biblically successful ministry, guided by a servant-leader who places God first in his life. In conclusion, when properly arrived at, all of these areas collectively direct one towards true worship—which places Christ at the center.

~I pray that this study has been as beneficial for you as it has been for me.

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