I’ve been thinking a lot about ordinary ministry lately. I don’t mean ministry as a career or professional task. Right now I am thinking of ministry as it might have been among the earliest Christians as they met in one another’s homes. I am thinking of ministry as we are gifted and then empowered by the Holy Spirit to serve people.
I am not sure why I am giving this so much thought right now. Maybe it is the way that we have complicated things. Anyway, I am sitting here with a freshly brewed cup of coffee and listening to the "Whisperings" station on iTunes. In the last forty-eight hours, I have been with a longtime mentor of mine, in his home. Later in the day, I spent a wonderful couple of hours with a new friend. There was something about both of these conversations that reminded me of the importance of the simplicity of ministry.
Anyway, here is what I am thinking.
It seems to me that far too many of us believe that most of the action in a church is on Sunday and the real ministry of that church is tied up in its various organized ministries. Now Sunday mornings are very important in the life of a church. The various organized ministries of a church can be very, very important as well. People are blessed and good things happen because men and women are willing to work together in these ministries.
What concerns me is there is often not a sense of real ministry taking place during the week. My concern is that quite often people on Sunday morning are not leaving these church buildings with a sense of leaving to minister. Yet, the truth is, these men and women are going to factories, offices, and school buildings with opportunities to minister to others. Every week there are wonderful moments in which we have the opportunity to be a part of an international ministry.
What if we had no organized ministries as a church? What if we had no church building? Could we really make a difference in our communities? Now I am not proposing that we do away with these organized ministries or our church buildings. I am suggesting that God is not dependent on such things to make a difference. I am saying that a group could exist as a church and go into the community under the power and leading of the Spirit and know that significant ministry can happen. God continues to gift and empower and make a difference even though we may wonder if it is possible.
Some of the most important ministry happens during the week in law offices, school buildings, and retail stores. Significant ministry may be happening in your time with another at Starbucks or at lunch. It may be happening at your kitchen table as you talk with one of your children. God has empowered and equipped us to be used by him to make a difference during the week.
Who is a person whose ministry to you has made a significant difference? Where did much of this ministry take place? What can be done to affirm and encourage the ministry of ordinary people during the week?