Dr. Willis Newman, Esmeralda Newman, bible-teaching-about.com
The Bible teaching about Christian ministry indicates that God designed it to be exciting, fulfilling, and a tremendous honor to bestow on you – and all Christians. In this essay, Esmie and I use the terms Christian ministry and Bible ministry interchangeably.
Ministry in Action
The days were hard in the mid 1700’s in England. Uneducated street children of terrible poverty worked 12 hour days, six days a week in the mills, mines and sweatshops. Many unruly youth ended up in jail for lack of guidance.
Robert Raikes, a strong Christian, saw an opportunity for ministry. He thought the prevention of crime was better than punishment. Consequently, he organized a training center on Sunday mornings and early afternoons, starting in the home of a Mrs. Meredith who lived on Sooty Alley.
The first text book was the Bible. Other texts were added, but school always involved taking the youth to a local church for catechism and Bible training. The vicar of the first involved church in this Bible ministry was a Rev. Thomas Stock. Soon there were many such training centers.
Quickly, the community marveled at the transformation in the youth from their training in the well disciplined schools where the chief requirements were clean faces and combed hair. John Wesley saw the benefit, and within 50 years there were some 1.25 million youth enrolled. We still have the training centers today. We call them “Sunday Schools.”
This powerful story illustrates how Christian ministry has a dramatic impact on lives and society. Such prestigious service is available to Christians who desire to grow in their faith.
The Great Commission
The Bible mandate for Chrisrtian ministry is compelling. Claiming ultimate authority in the universe, Jesus Christ commanded, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19, 20).
The Bible teaching about this directive from the Lord Jesus Christ is startling. Don’t you think? It sure gets my attention, like a flashing red light on a police car. This famous edict is known as the “Great Commission.” I will break it down for you as it relates to Christian and Bible ministry.
Strategy for Ministry
The strategy for having a ministry is remarkably simple, yet tremendously effective. After all, the Christian church mushroomed from a tiny group of people to the largest religion in the world comprising about 1/3 of the earth’s population! That is impressive!
The core task is to make, “disciples” everywhere. Disciples are followers of Christ. The Bible teaching about this central assignment is that disciples are to make disciples who in turn make other disciples, thus multiplying the efforts.
The way to do this is first to evangelize, as seen in the word, “baptism.” In that culture and time, baptize meant an action of identifying with a particular group of people who shared like beliefs. Consequently, Bible ministry first must recruit people with various evangelistic methods.
Secondly, the strategy involves teaching. The content is everything Jesus taught the disciples as recorded in the Bible. Jesus summed it up in the two great commands, “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength…You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:30, 31).
Christian ministry is teaching, which involves schools, literature, churches, Bible study groups, preaching, radio, TV, websites, and any other means. Since we are to love others, we can organize for humanitarian works, hospitals, aid, and the like. And somewhere in this entire Bible ministry activity is the place you can become involved in the greatest cause in the world!
The Scope of the Ministry
The scope of Christian ministry is the entire world. Jesus said, “you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
This instruction is consistent with His statement in Matthew when Jesus said to go into the entire world. That is why we are to organize, finance, and participate in local evangelism and missionary work, and also foreign missionary outreach.
Missionary work involves learning cross culture skills, country backgrounds, raising money, knowing the Bible, hard work, creativity, and experiencing life altering adventure. Esmie and I know this to be true, as we have personally worked many years in cross culture Bible ministry.
You can learn the practical steps for Christian ministry through other essays in this website, or by going a seminary such as Faith Evangelical Seminary (Link), which has distance learning opportunities. Two other fine international organizations are Campus Crusade for Christ (link), and Navigators (link). Of course, local churches also offer training.
Source of Power
This segment of the Bible teaching about Christian ministry is critical. Jesus said in Matthew that He would continue to be with us, and in Acts He was more specific, “but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you” (Acts 1:8).
You will not be left alone in your Christian ministry for Christ. The Holy Spirit leads, empowers, encourages, grants and improves our skills in Christian ministry. He is the One who actually does the convincing and converting of people to Christ and His salvation (link) as we communicate the gospel.
Substance of Christian Ministry
The substance of the Bible teaching about Christian and Bible ministry is reconciliation. Paul wrote, “He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were entreating through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:19, 20).
An ambassador is one who represents the sovereign who sends them. For example, America, Australia, Indonesia, Philippines, China, etc. have ambassadors they sent to other countries to represent their interests. Likewise, we are citizens of heaven (Philippians 3:20) who represent the interests of Jesus Christ in this world.
The reconciliation is to bring a change in relationship between people and God. Since people are alienated from God because of sin, Christ made provision to heal the breach between us and our Creator. It is in the best interests of both God and humanity to be reconciled, and make peace through Christ. Our job is to facilitate that change through the power of the Holy Spirit.
This, then, is the Bible teaching about Christian ministry. It is sometimes an exhausting and discouraging road to travel, yet the journey of Bible ministry is exciting and magnificently fulfilling.
All the best to you as you launch into the wonderful world of Christian ministry.
Dr. Willis and Esmie Newman
BIBLE STUDY QUESTIONS
1. What do you think is the most important part of the Great Commission?
2. How would you explain the meaning of “ambassador” as related to Christian ministry?
3. What does “reconciliation” have to do with Bible ministry?
4. Why do you think Jesus claimed to have all authority?
5. What are several ways you can relate the second great command to the ministry?
6. What is the central strategy of ministry?
7. What does discipleship mean to you, personally?
8. Where do you think your best fit is in Bible ministry?
9. How important is evangelism to Christian ministry?
10. In your own words, explain the scope of Christian ministry.
11. What stood out to you the most in this study? Explain.
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