Have you ever stopped to think what the note at the bottom of the front page means where it says of the church - 'Ministers: All Church Members'?  In what way are all church members ministers of the church?  And if that is the case, why do we have a paid minister?

The word 'minister' does not appear in the New Testament - at least in the way that we understand the term today.  The word from which it derives is the one from which we get the term "deacon", meaning literally 'one who serves'; the same word which Jesus used when he said to 'serve one another'.  A parallel translation could be to 'minister to one another'.  The church is at its New Testament best when every member takes their responsibility to minister to the other members of the church, and to their neighbours.  If every church member took the opportunity to minister to one person every day, over 500 people would be ministered to each week - more than the busiest pastor could ever hope to achieve.

But what is ministry?  Well, it is serving - seeking to meet the needs of another, whether those needs be practical, spiritual, moral, social, or whatever.  And who is better placed to serve the needs of a person than the one who is immediately aware of the need and capable of doing something to help?  We can all do that, without ever having to stand and preach a sermon!

Paul explains the role of the church leadership as 'to prepare God's people for works of service (that same deacon-type word again)' - Eph 4:12.  In other words, so that all can minister effectively as God empowers.

So, to ask a question often put to pastors: "How's the ministry going?"

June 11, 1995

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