My friend Ed Cyzewski recently wrote a blog series on Writing As a Ministry, and he asked me if I would share a few thoughts on this well, which I’m more than happy to oblige. As a reader, you may also be a writer, or you may be a mom, or a pastor, or in business, or a carpenter, or a student, or any number of occupations. But I invite you to consider why you do what you do and whether you consider what you do as a ministry or not.
I would love to say that I write books and this blog purely as a ministry. I would love to say that because I desire for this to be my heart’s deepest desire. What I can honestly say is that I write in order to:
- Be affirmed
- Express a gift
- Force myself to think more deeply about daily life
- Prove I have something worth saying, or prove I am valuable because of what I do
- Attempt to know more of God
- Share ways in which the gospel touches our daily lives
- Satisfy my ego
- Proclaim Jesus as the greatest satisfaction to our soul’s deepest cravings
- Feel important or impactful
You will notice a mix of pride-filled motives and grace-filled motives in this list. My confession to God is that I am not ready to fully submit my writing to Him and His purposes alone, and my prayer is that He will help me remove my own selfish motives and replace them with His motives instead.
With that being said, writing (or _____) as a ministry is a worthy pursuit. We probably shouldn’t go much further in this before understanding what the Scriptures have to say about ministry in general. What follow are a few examples from God’s word:
- The apostles viewed their primary ministry as ministers of the word (Acts 6:4)
- Paul considers us as ambassadors for Christ, or ministers with a message of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18, 20)
- God gave gifts to His people in order to equip them for the work of ministry, for building up His church (Ephesians 4:11-12)
- Paul assumed Timothy had a ministry which needed to be “fulfilled” (2 Timothy 4:5)
- Jesus obtained a ministry of His own which he appeared once for all at the end of the ages as a sacrifice for sin (Hebrews 8:6, 9:26)
So what can we say about ministry, and how does this impact our own ministries in turn?
- Ministry is others-oriented. The apostles ministered the word to others, the saints are equipped for ministry to others, and Christ’s ministry saves sinners. Our ministry must continually be self-denying and others-focused.
- Ministry comes with a gift. God is the giver of gifts to His people in order that they may use them to build up His church. Finding our ministry means discovering and using these gifts in order to build up the body in love and grow in maturity in Christ.
- Ministry is a call. Timothy had a ministry which he needed to fulfill. God had prepared good works for Timothy to walk in, and He has done the same for us as well. Being an effective minister means asking God to lead us into these good works.
- Ministry requires prioritization. We may be able to minister in many ways, but we should follow the example of the apostles and consider before God where our gifts may bear the most fruit.
- Ministry is sacrificial. Ministry means giving, and giving means sacrificing. Jesus gave of Himself to obtain His ministry of mediation, and we must give of ourselves in order to obtain the fruit of our own ministries. We don’t minister to gain; we minister to give.
- Ministry exists to glorify God. Jesus’ ministry on the earth, on the cross, and in the Father’s presence exists in order to bring glory to Himself and to the Father (John 17:1-5). As all things exist for Him (Colossians 1:16), and since we are to do all things to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31), let us embrace the sacrificial, others-oriented ministries of our gifts in order to magnify the glory of our God.
Question: How do you think about your own ministry?