Ministry. When you think of this word, what is one of the first things that come to your mind. Something or someone involved in a Church, correct? Or how about someone that serves as a pastor, church staff leader or a missionary to a foreign country. All of these are great examples of individuals who are in “full-time ministry.”
However, I want to share a different perspective on the word — ministry. When I was at the Exponential Conference in Orlando a couple of weeks ago, Craig Groeschel, pastor of LifeChurch.tv made a statement that stuck with me. He said, “Don’t be conformed to the patterns of the Western-American Church, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
According to Western- American church standards, ministry is defined as a profession, thus this is where we get “full-time and part-time ministry.” According to the Gospel, ministry is defined by action of service.
We have limited the use and terminology of ministry to only serve the local Church context. Which is ok, but it’s not good enough. In this day of an age, we must recognize that ministry should be a much broader term that embraces every context in life and career. I was just in the Hollywood and Beverly Hills area of California last week, and you will be surprised at how many people I met that are passionate about Jesus and who are willing to use their influence to help people discover what it means to be a Christ-follower. Now, if that’s not ministry, I don’t no what is. This is just a different face of ministry. These actors and social entrepreneurs I met in Hollywood love Jesus and are influencing people and leading them to Jesus. So, do they work at a church or a non-for-profit organization? No. Are they ordained ministers through a Church or denomination? No. Should they be considered full-time ministers. Yes. Why? Because they are doing ministry. They are doing it with a different look and face than you who might do while working at a church or para church organization. This is how ministry will be defined by next generation leaders.
Ministry is not defined by your profession or place of employment. It is defined by what you do!
You might be a businessman, doctor, restaurant owner, editor, pilot, government official, actor, model, journalist, banker, salesmen, musician, singer, songwriter, author, or you might even be a pastor or church leader. The point is ministry has faces. It can be expressed through service and influence in many different areas of context and career in today’s culture. When we limit the word ministry just to the church context, we begin to suppress people and limit their full potential in the ministry God has called them to do.
I’m reminded of a business leader I knew in Atlanta. His name is David Salyers. He is the Vice President of Marketing for Chick-fil-A. David is a great leader in Chick-fil-A. I’ll never forget what he told me one day, when I sat in his office there in Atlanta at the Chick-fil-A corporate office. He said, “working here at Chick-fil-A is not my job, it’s my ministry. Serving the people is my ministry and that is why I have been able to influence the people within this corporate context. I don’t need to be on a church staff to be in full-time ministry, all I need to do is renew my thinking, serve people, and let my life and influence be it’s own platform.”
Ministry in definition is being re-defined for the next generation of leaders. Ministry Has Faces. Which one are you?