Paper Pt X: Implications for Ministry

It has been said “the Church is like manure, if you spread it around beautiful things can grow, but if you pile it all up in one spot, it just stinks.”24 Jesus models this for us in many ways, sending away those who desire to follow Him,25 sending out the Twelve26 and the seventy-two,27 and ultimately commanding His followers to scatter abroad.28 We must hold our own ministry up to the same mirror. Are we producing harvesters or consumers?29 Are we gathering crowds or sending out missionaries? The difference between fertilizer and sewage is whether the excrement is dispersed over the field or sealed to prevent contact; which one are we trying to accomplish?

4) Outward Ministry – Ministry is primarily conceived of in terms of leading church events and programs; preaching, worship, teaching, childcare, or even technology or maintenance. The ministry of the ‘royal priesthood,’ however, is not to other priests; the Church’s ministry is not to itself. Ministry must be re-conceptualized in terms of mission; and we must cement this in the theology of all Christians. Our ministry is to the world; this is the reason God has covenanted with us, and it is the guiding principle that should govern the purpose of both individual Christians and the covenant community as a whole.

5) Redeeming the Trades – When ministry is taken outside of the context of the Church community it is primarily conceived of in terms of evangelism, or compassion ministries; providing material resources for those in need, offering prayer and healing for those suffering, or engaging in discourse with the hope of conversion. A theology of the Kingdom necessitates that we begin commissioning (and perhaps even ordaining) lawyers and artists, carpenters and philosophers, educators and urban planners, even homemakers and retirees; in effect, we must redeem the entire scope of work available for use in the Kingdom project.  Most importantly, we must go beyond talk in doing this, we must actually equip and hold accountable for such callings, as we do for preaching.

Kingdom theology is about God’s mission to the world. Therefore, the Church must minister to the world. This ministry is to bring God’s powerful rule and reign into every corner of the world by means of our presence and influence there. The Vineyard movement has a history of reexamining the significance of the priesthood of all believers; “everybody gets to play.”30 It is time to take this to its full conclusion; a theology of the Kingdom demands that we think through what we mean by ‘everybody’ and what we mean by ‘play.’ Church can no longer be a place where paid clergy minister to Christians, rather Church must be a community equipped by leaders to minister to the world.


LindaFaye said...

love your heart in all this. it's so jesus!

Josh Hopping said...

"...a theology of the Kingdom demands that we think through what we mean by ‘everybody’ and what we mean by ‘play.’"

Amen!!! We have for too long defined the area in which everyone plays as the church building. We let anyone pray, anyone be ushers, greet folks, etc. However, it is time we turn folks around and have them go out into the world. That is were we need to be!