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  • Writer's pictureLES HENSON

There are a Wide Variety of Christian Ministries

Updated: Dec 17, 2019

There are a wide variety of Christian ministries. The reason is that 'ministry' means 'service', and there are many different ways in which we can serve God and people. Acts 6:1-4 provides a solid biblical basis for this conviction. An ethnic or cultural argument was tearing the Jerusalem church apart. The 'Grecian Jews' were complaining against the 'Hebraic Jews'. The dilemma was that their widows were suffering from discrimination regarding to the daily distribution of food. Moreover, the apostles had become embroiled in this quarrel; it was occupying much of their time and threatening to distract them from the preaching and teaching role that Jesus had commissioned them. So they wisely called a church meeting and said: “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God to wait on (diakonein) tables.” They then advised the church to choose seven men for that responsibility, while, the apostles added, 'We... will give our attention to prayer and the ministry (diakonia) of the word. It is essential to note that both distributing food and teaching of the word come under the categories of ministry (diakonia) in this passage.

Indeed, both were Christian ministry that required Spirit-filled people to perform them. The only distinction between them was that one was pastoral ministry and the other social. It was not that one was 'ministry' and the other not; nor that one was spiritual and the other secular, nor that one was superior and the other inferior. It was simply that Christ had called the Twelve to the ministry of the word and the Seven to the ministry of tables.

We need to abandon a hierarchical or pyramid view of ministry that understands missionaries and ministers as being on the top of the pile. Don’t misunderstand me. It is an honour to be a missionary or a pastor if God calls us to either of those tasks. But, it is equally good to be a teacher, a social worker, a manager, an engineer, a nurse, or a homemaker, etc. According to Romans 13:4 an official of the state (whether legislator, magistrate, policeman, or policewoman) is just as much a ‘minister of God’ (diakonos theou) as a pastor. Just as there is, a need for ministers and missionaries there is a real need for men and women who see their everyday work as their primary Christian ministry and commit themselves to penetrate their secular environment for Christ.

John Stott writes:

“Christian people in business and industry are needed to specify 'service to the public' as the first goal on their 'mission' statement, to make bold experiments in labour relations, worker participation and profit-sharing, and to accept their responsibility to produce an annual 'social audit' alongside their annual financial audit.”

The same is true for Christian politicians, Christian filmmakers, Christian doctors, Christian social workers, etc.

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