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July 4, 2008

The ministry of preaching turns into a lot of different things in the local congregation.

– Teaching Bible classes
– Preaching sermons
– Home Bible studies
– Following up and visiting with visitors
– Visiting hospitals and nursing homes
– Weddings and funerals
– Prayers
– Counseling
– Elders meetings
– Organizing
– Office management
– Changing the church sign
– Mission trips
– Helping to lift the other end of something heavy in the middle
   of the day when everyone else is working
– Arranging tables and chairs in the fellowship room
– Keeping the directory updated
– Delivering groceries to the needy
– Unload trucks after hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, etc
– Answering the questions people ask
– Radio program
– Cleaning the church building
– Eating BBQ with the guys at the “Shed”
– Keeping the website updated
– Picking up church kids when they get sick at school
– Changing the batteries in the wireless microphones
– Going to camp in the Summer
– Mowing the church lawn
– Loving your wife and children
– Preparing power points
– Cleaning the baptisty
– Making, printing and folding the bulletin
– Working the room and eating last at potlucks
– Meeting the plumber at the church building
– etc. etc. etc.

The list is actually longer but some are already recoiling at this list. I tend to over simplify things but ministry to me boils down to our determined yet feeble efforts to, “love the Lord our God with all our heart… soul… mind and… strength… and… love our neighbor as our self.”

When preaching becomes a profession it turns into a job description. Preachers then decide that there are things that are not a part of their “job”. The “ministering servant” morphs into the “ministering executive.” Obviously no one can do all of the things in the list and at the same time do half of them well. Preachers have often been asked to fill way too many shoes at the same time. While that is an issue to be dealt with the greater issue is whether the preacher is willing to wear whatever shoes needing to be worn in order to love God and neighbor, and thereby build the Kingdom of God here on planet earth.

Our hero once said, “do just as I have done to you.” Not after he had preached to hundreds and thousands. Not after having calmed a raging storm or walked on water. But after He had washed the feet of proud ministers who thought such service was beneath them.

Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.” For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “Not all of you are clean.”
When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.   John 13:3-17

2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 4, 2008 2:30 pm

    I’m tired just reading that list. When you put it into a list it really makes me either tired, sad or wondering how we got this far when the Bible gives the minister/evangelist or however you want to call him a much more specific and focused duty.

  2. July 4, 2008 10:37 pm

    Thanks for our thoughts!

    Ministry is wonderfully huge! It’s hard to limit the ministry of the preacher/evangelist to a list of specifics found in the New Testament. When you consider things like the call of Jesus to follow His example as a servant (washing the disciple’s feet), Paul’s charge that we follow Jesus’ example as one who considered others more important than Himself and the statement of Jesus that the world will know that we are His disciples by our love for one another, ministry seems to be much more broadly defined.
    By HIS Grace!

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