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Christian ministry - What is it?

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In many ways, the term "Christian ministry" has become synonymous with the vocational work of a pastor, missionary, or parachurch worker. While what these workers do is part of Christian ministry, Christian ministry is really meant to be done by every Christian in every aspect of life.

To minister is to serve, a calling common to all Christians. Jesus Himself "came not to be served but to serve" (Mark 10:45). After washing the feet of His disciples, Jesus instructed them, "I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them" (John 13:15-17, NIV). Christians serve in practical ways like assisting with physical or financial needs (James 1:27; 2:15-17). Service is also done in more intangible ways like listening to others to provide comfort or encouragement, or even to restore a sense of dignity (1 Thessalonians 5:11; Hebrews 10:24-25; 2 Corinthians 1:3-4). Ministry is not confined to church activities or relationships; it permeates every part of our lives, including our jobs and our daily activities.

Colossians 3:23-24 says, "Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ." The command to work was given to Adam and Eve prior to their sin (Genesis 1:28; 2:15). In Hebrew, the word for work is avodah. It is used not only for labor, but also for worship and service. There is to be no separation in our lives between daily activities and Christian ministry. Everything we do is to be done in service to God, with an attitude of worship.

First Corinthians 15:58 says, "Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain." The life of every believer should be one of full-time Christian ministry, whether carried out as a church worker, a stay-at-home parent, a doctor, a grocery clerk, a student, or any other life situation.

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