Focus of ministry

Ministry is ultimately about saving souls

(Luke 4:18 NIV)  "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed,

This was how Jesus summarized His ministry. It is about saving souls. Our ministry focus should be no different from our Lord Jesus.

(1 Tim 2:3-4 NIV)  This is good, and pleases God our Savior, {4} who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

Ministry is servanthood

(Phil 2:5-7 NIV)  Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: {6} Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, {7} but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.

(Mat 20:25-28 NIV)  Jesus called them together and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. {26} Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, {27} and whoever wants to be first must be your slave-- {28} just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

The Bible describes even the ministry of Jesus – the Son of God – as servanthood. How much more when we do ministry, we seek to serve those we minister. When we serve as ushers, Sunday School teachers, do we do it with the attitude that we are doing them a favour or do we do it with the attitude that we are there to serve them? Different attitude will produce different results.

Ministry is outreach

When we look at Jesus’ ministry we see that He did not set up a throne in the middle of each city and say, “This is my palace. This is the only place you can see Me.” Instead Jesus went out to where the need is.

(Mark 6:56 NIV)  And wherever he went--into villages, towns or countryside--they placed the sick in the marketplaces. They begged him to let them touch even the edge of his cloak, and all who touched him were healed.

Ministry is for the needy

It is natural to want to minister to those who are normal. We want to have a healthy church and not one where many people are in need of physical or emotional healing.

We are happy to serve if those “weird” people do not crop up. But this is not what ministry is all about. It is about ministering to those who are in need.

(Mat 9:11-13 NIV)  When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and 'sinners'?" {12} On hearing this, Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. {13} But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."

Jesus’ time on earth was not spent mainly on those who are “healthy” but on those who are “sick”. Likewise we should not think of ministering to the needy as disruptions to our ministry. We should think of it AS our ministry.

Sow into the ministry of others

(Phile 1:10-13 NIV)  I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, who became my son while I was in chains. {11} Formerly he was useless to you, but now he has become useful both to you and to me. {12} I am sending him--who is my very heart--back to you. {13} I would have liked to keep him with me so that he could take your place in helping me while I am in chains for the gospel.

Even though Onesimus was helpful to Paul in his ministry, he decided to send him to his other brothers so that their ministry can be impacted.

Ministry is not about selfishly guarding our interest. It should be with the mindfulness that we all serve the same God. We should be willing to help others in their ministry by providing our own resources.

Even in the Old Testament days, the Jews are admonished to help their brothers in taking possession of the land that God had given them.

(Josh 1:14-15 NIV)  Your wives, your children and your livestock may stay in the land that Moses gave you east of the Jordan, but all your fighting men, fully armed, must cross over ahead of your brothers. You are to help your brothers {15} until the LORD gives them rest, as he has done for you, and until they too have taken possession of the land that the LORD your God is giving them. After that, you may go back and occupy your own land, which Moses the servant of the LORD gave you east of the Jordan toward the sunrise."

Ministry responds to God’s calling, not needs

(John 11:1-6 NIV)  Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha… {3} So the sisters sent word to Jesus, "Lord, the one you love is sick." {4} When he heard this, Jesus said, "This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God's glory so that God's Son may be glorified through it." {5} Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. {6} Yet when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days.

Jesus did not respond to every situation of need. In this case, the need was urgent; a friend was dying. Yet He knew it was not God’s timing yet. He had to go later, after Lazarus had died and do a miracle to raise him from the dead.

Ministry is not responding to every need. There will be no end to need. What does God call you to do?