If you were to define ministry in one word, what would it be? Perhaps you would say “service”. Others may say “love”. Some who have found themselves being burnt by ministry might even say “work”. Though all these words are key aspects of ministry, there is one word that has always stuck out to me: “People”.
Yes, ministry involves work, service, and love. However, it is impossible to have ministry without people. People are the only things on this Earth that were created in the image of God. People are the only things on this Earth that God loved enough to send His son to die for. People are the central focus of Jesus’ final charge to the Church.
So, if ministry is people, why do we complicate it so much? Why do Christians feel that the only way that they can do ministry is within their women’s group at church? Why is ministry limited to a mission’s trip? Why is ministry confined to a Sunday service?
Some may say, “I am not called to ministry”. If we define ministry as people, then all Christians are called to ministry. Jesus tells us in John 13:34 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, so you must also love one another.” No, not everyone is called to be a pastor or a full time missionary, but Jesus is clear that we must ALL love people.
Ministry is a lifestyle. It is through ministry that we see others know more about the love of Christ. Not only do others benefit from our ministry, but we receive blessings as well. It has been in my experience that I got more out of ministry than the people I serve!
With this being said, I would love to breakdown practical ways for Christians to become more involved in ministry. Though these topics are not new or original to me, they are both impactful and life changing. My goal is to offer simple, yet effective advice on how to share the love of Christ with other people.
With that introduction aside, the first topic in this series is (as you may have already guessed from the title) discipleship.
A man who absolutely changed my perspective on what discipleship looks like was a man I met while I was studying at the Word of Life Bible Institute. He was wise beyond his years, knowledgeable of the scriptures, and… the maintenance man. Most of his time was spent fixing cars, mowing the grass, and keeping the campus running. But, once a week on his lunch break, he would sit down with me, talk about life, and pour into me in a way that no one had ever taken the time to do before. The way that he would both listen to me ramble on about the problems that I was facing and then offer sound, biblical advice would help me through a very tough, yet growing season.
I learned a lot from the maintenance man that year. Through him pouring into my life, I learned how to effectively pour into others. Here a just a few of the things that I learned about discipleship:
1. ALL CHRISTIANS SHOULD BE MAKING DISCIPLES The great commission is not called “the great suggestion”. This is one of the primary purposes of the church. If you are a born again believe, there should be younger Christians that you are discipling. Though that first time you meet up with that younger person may be intimidating, it is an active step of faith and an active step of obedience. Everyone on staff at the Word of Life Bible Institute had at least one student that they were pouring into on a regular basis. If the maintenance man can do it, so can you! So, if there isn’t someone you are currently discipling, talk to your pastor about what steps you can take to make it happen.
2. ALL CHRISTIANS SHOULD BE DISCIPLED I quickly found out that the wisdom that the maintenance man was pouring into me was not original to him. He was also being discipled by one of the professors at the school. I currently meet up with two guys on a weekly basis, but every Saturday morning I meet one of the elders of my church for breakfast. It is not uncommon that the wisdom I learn at breakfast on Saturday, I then share at lunch on Monday! If we are not learning and growing ourselves, how can we expect to help others grow? We see the perfect biblical example of this in the life of Timothy. Timothy was poured into and discipled by Paul. Paul was setting Timothy up to pour into others. While Timothy was active in his ministry, he maintained his discipleship relationship with Paul. We will never be the most knowledgeable and the most spiritual. We will always need someone to pour into us as we pour into others.
3. ALL DISCIPLESHIP MUST BE FOUNDED IN SCRIPTURE The maintenance man had loads of worldly wisdom that he passed on to me. From how to take care of my car, to how to go about relationships, and everything in between. However, what made the difference between him being my mentor and being my discipler is that he spoke biblical truth into my life. When I was facing different issues in my life, he was able to point me back to scripture that offered clarity into how to handle my problems. My friends, if we are not pointing people back to scripture, then what good are we doing? Yes, it is helpful to offer worldly advice. In fact, if you are knowledgeable in handywork, cars, finances, cooking, or things of the like, then you should pass down that knowledge. However, these things are temporary. What we share in God’s word impacts not only this life, but all of eternity. Only two things last forever on this earth: God’s word and the souls of man. There is nothing else on this world that is more life changing than scripture. I am sure that the advice you have to offer is wonderful and insightful, but are we to create disciples of ourselves? No, we are to create disciples of Christ.
WRAPPING THINGS UP Discipleship is one of my favorite aspects of the Christian life. God created us to have relationships like this. We need people in our lives that we can go to in both good and bad times for sound advice. Sometimes we just need people to listen and to sympathize. Discipleship is the chief goal of the church. The church needs more regular people like the maintenance man to pour into others. You don’t have to be a pastor, missionary, or a brilliant theologian! Take the time to study the Bible and to seek resources on how to biblically disciple others.
One resource that the maintenance man showed me was a book called “The Lost Art of Disciple Making”. As of the writing of this article, you can get it used on Amazon for less than $2.