The Future Is As Bright As The Promises Of God

We Have This Ministry

“Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we received mercy, we do not lose heart, but we have renounced the things hidden because of shame, not walking in craftiness or adulterating the word of God, but by the manifestation of truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake.” 2 Corinthians 4:1-5 (NASB)
“Who is a minister?” most of us would respond by describing someone who is paid by the church to lead a congregation. Ministers are people who work for the church on a full-time basis. The laity are all those other Christians who work elsewhere to support the full-time ministry of the minister.
This view of church leadership makes it sound as if a congregation has one minister who is supported by a group of laypeople. But this view is not true to the New Testament picture of church leadership.
When Paul writes to the church at Corinth and says “since we have this ministry, as we received mercy”, he is not simply talking to a group of professional, full-time, seminary-trained pastors. He is addressing the leaders of the whole church, including those whom we often think of as “laity.”
Elsewhere Paul makes it clear that “ministry” includes all Christians. Ministry or service is not limited to those who are paid to do it. It includes everyone who has a share in Christ’s liberating work in the world. Sometimes those whom we regard as laity have better opportunities to perform ministry to the world than those whom we regard as clergy.
I think that we might do better to make a distinction between “ministers”–that is, all of us who are true believers–and “pastors”–that is, all those whom the church calls for the specialized ministry of teaching, preaching, and upbuilding the church. The role of these pastors is to equip the ministers for their ministry. Pastors are those who “equip the saints” (Eph. 4:12) for their ministry in the world.
Unfortunately, due to our fuzzy understanding of ministry, we often thought of pastors who take away the ministers responsibility for serving the world in Christ’s name. We do not have to perform their God-given ministry. We have pastors to enable and support the laity in their own distinctive ministries.
This is much the same as Paul says to the Corinthians when he claims that “we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake.”

Comments on: "We Have This Ministry" (1)

  1. Very well put, and something we all need to remember. We are all here to serve!

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