Thursday, September 22, 2005

Mission or Ministry

Who is influencing your decisions? In our desire to minister to the mass we often focus more on the mission than the ministry. This applies to the work place as well as volunteer work. The definition of minister is to give help to somebody in need. Mission refers to a particular task given to a person or group to carry out.

It is human nature to want to help someone in need. The difference for the Christ follower is why we are helping. Is it for the comfort of the individual in need? That is not a bad reason to help. But the Christ follower has a greater cause. That cause is to bring glory to God.

As a ministry leader, people like to give me their opinions of what we should be doing. Since I am somewhat rebellious and more of a people irritator than a people pleaser, I can easily brush off suggestions. This isn’t necessarily a good thing. God sometimes uses the voices of others to guide us in his will.

Whether you are managing a data center or leading women’s ministry, to experience life to its fullest our ultimate influencer must be God. It is not a matter of getting it from God first. It is a matter of spending time alone with God where you can hear and recognize his voice. You can then test the spirit and confirm that God is the influencer by knowing that your decision will in some way (perhaps beyond your full understanding) bring glory to God.

God has given our women’s ministry the mission to function in a non-traditional way. It is our desire to address only the unique needs of women in order to assist them in finding their place in the full body of Christ. This requires careful evaluation of every thought and how we carry out ideas. Without God's influence on every decision, we will easily slip into the traditional ways that are familiar.

Many women enjoy the traditional role of women’s ministry. There is certainly a place for separating women out from the men to encourage and build up that portion of the body of Christ in ways that only woman to woman relationships can. But are we ministering under God’s influence or are we accomplishing a mission to provide pleasure for women based on tradition?

God’s ministry will ultimately unite the body of true believers and bring glory to his name. When we allow God to influence our ministry, we can trust that he will guide us where we need to be. We don’t need to spend time fretting over whether or not we are meeting the needs and desires of every single person we come in contact with.

It is ok that we, as individuals or as a portion of the body, do not meet the perceived needs of everyone. The full body of Christ, influenced by God and for God, will meet the true needs according to God’s will when we seek first the kingdom of God and not the comfort of man.

The next time someone offers you a suggestion for your ministry or you are struggling with issues at work, allow God to be the influencer of your decisions. Then, whatever you are doing, whether in word or in deed, you will be ministering for God’s glory and not to accomplish man’s mission.

1 comment:

sojourner said...

This is very spot on. In women's minsitry in particular there is that tendency to hear the voices of those who want a leader to "do"or provide a particular thing, but those same voices are usually not the ones who are stepping forward to help shoulder the load. If we as women seek only to enjoy one another's company, there are other venues besides women's ministry for that to happen. As women we are full partners with men in salvation and in ministry and our primary goal is to know Christ and be conformed to His likeness. Praise God for places where we can use our gifts without limitations because of our genders.


the mission:
PROCLAIM the good news; HEAL the sick and oppressed; BRING JUSTICE
~ Luke 4:16-20

Anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing (John 14:12)
~ Jesus 

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