1. You Have Ministry!
This information comes as a great revelation to many Christians--yet this information is clearly found in the Bible and has been sitting there for 2000 years!
Yes---YOU HAVE MINISTRY!
Your ministry was in you before you were saved---it is the innate way that God has called you--it is the unique gifts which God has birthed in you----but when you were born again, the gifts and talents which you have were meant to become focused on the spreading of the Gospel.
If you got saved a while ago---and then were told that what you ought to do is to go to church--and that is basically all that you have been doing for the Lord---you need to pray and ask Him how He wants you to serve Him.--DO-IT!
Yes---YOU HAVE MINISTRY!
You have authority---direct from God to operate your ministry. You have the Biblical right to operate directly in Jesus' name, under His direct authority---and be lead directly by the Holy Spirit.
Yes---YOU HAVE MINISTRY!
Your ministry comes from your own unique gifts and talents. Ministry can be any type of activity----it is NOT just speech-making--it is writing and arts of all kinds--it is any type of human expression--that carries and furthers the Gospel.
You have special gifts which God has given you and they will only ever realize His full purpose when you decide to utilize those gifts for His Gospel.
2. The Gospel a BIG THING!
"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because
he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to
heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering
of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach
the acceptable year of the Lord."
(Luke 4:18-19, KJV).
Study these verses fully! The Gospel (as Jesus demonstrated it) is a BIG THING! There is plenty of "room" to minister the Gospel--right where you are--right in your own community (but never limit where God might lead you!)--right where you're at--physically, emotionally, financially, and with the free time you already have (although you WILL find that the Lord will make you more and more free time as you become involved in serving Him!).
Look at those verses above---we see 5 basic parts of the Gospel.
Salvation--of course. You know what that is--right? Salvation by faith in the name of Jesus Christ. Relying fully on His work at the cross and His resurrection to give the free gift of salvation---justification before God--that gives us eternal life---the God-given right to a heavenly citizenship after we die--and his guarantee that we are made safe in this life. Yes, bad things happen to Christians in this life---but in Christ-- we always win.
Salvation---needs to be spread! There are so many young people who have grown up in a secular world and have never heard the Gospel of salvation. There are so many of all ages who have let the Gospel pass them by. They may be Sunday church-goers---and yet have never really listened---never really asked Jesus in personally. Many many people need to hear the Gospel of salvation---and they need to be reached by your gift---your ministry!
Healing---Jesus healed the sick. He healed all manner of sickness and disease. His followers in the Bible healed the sick in His name. You can do the same---the Bible grants this authority to all Christ's followers.
Healing---needs to be spread! This is an easy one. Is there a hospital in your town? What about nursing homes? Do what you have to do to bring your ministry of healing to the sick (this may mean becoming an "officially ordained minister"---don't be afraid--this is like getting a fishing license from your state---fill out some paperwork and pay 20 dollars--don't let things like this stand in your way!). Simple--find the sick---serve them in every way you know and as the Lord leads you. There is nothing better in life than doing these ministries!
Deliverance. Jesus simply met people, and they were delivered from the worst kind of demonic possession. The name of Jesus sends the devil packing.
Deliverance--needs to be spread! Find people who need help with oppression. Look around you and use the gift of discernment the Lord gives. Look with spiritual eyes and you will see so many many people who need deliverance from the problems of the world! Yes, it is the drug addict and the alcoholic---but it is also the person who is working 3 jobs and stressed out to the max! The oppression of the devil is something the world accepts to a greater and greater degree all the time. Look spiritually and you will see the need of so many many people. Serve them. Help them. It could be by volunteering with others who help---it could be something completely unique that the Lord leads you to do. Do all that you do in the name of Jesus and watch His power--His authority bring deliverance to those in need. Be Spirit-lead truly.
(Just one aside: Don't be afraid of failure! Perhaps we have a picture in our minds that says "if God really wanted you to do a ministry---everything would work out perfectly" this is a wrong picture that the organization of church can give us. The organization of church looks big and powerful and successful---yet accomplishes little of the Gospel. Don't be afraid of failure. Sometimes you might loose a battle--but don't give up the war. Focus always on the need of those in front of you---be real--let God speak through you---have faith---and God will work His power through you. Realize that much sowing needs to be done--and sowing is not a spectacular thing---yet it will work--since you are sowing the incorruptible seed of the word of God into someone's heart!)
Feeding the poor. Jesus fed the poor. He did it miraculously and He did it as a regular part of his ministry. His followers in the Bible specifically fed and cared for all the poor around them---those within the church and those without.
Feeding the poor---needs to be done! Again there are obvious outlets to feed the poor--volunteering at a food bank or soup kitchen. But there are many other ways to feed and care for those in need. Do it in a direct manner. Of course there are large humanitarian organizations which carry on his work---and much credit is do some of them---still we suggest that you carry on this ministry directly--personally---bringing all the Gospel with you. Go further. Organize believers around you to carry on a program to feed the hungry. There are multitudes of believers who have the ministry of cooking--who sit in church week after week--with absolutely no outlet for their ministry (since most organized churches do not find the time--or the "leading of the Lord" to feed the poor). What an incredible thing to do--to organize others to feed the hungry!---But this crosses over to the last part of the Gospel........
Release! Jesus said He came to "set at liberty"---this phrase literally translated is "apostolic liberty"---it is the right for every believer to minister--to operate apostolically---in small groups of equals--and carry on the Gospel. It is a part of the Gospel--to carry the Gospel.
Release---needs to be spread! Believers need to know that they have the God-given right to minister. The full Gospel is fishing for souls---and freeing those souls to be bondservants of God. The Gospel of release needs to be spread---and God has given many Christians gifts which are meant to encourage others to minister. Are you someone who sees gifts in others? Know that you have the God-given right to let them know about it---and encourage them in every way. (in case you didn't notice--this is what we do!--we have found many was to release others to serve God--one of the most effective has been a free tract ministry. We give people free copies of tracts that they can duplicate. People come to us with their writing and we publish it at our websites.) Release is an incredible and little known principle of God. It is how Jesus began a move of God 2,000 years ago---which continues to this day. Jesus released everyone He met to freely serve God---and so should we. There is much to do in the release ministry---God will lead you to your part---ask Him and see!
2. Don't Go To Church---BE The Church
let's consider some specific situations you might have...
Individuals. When you decide to serve God in your ministry--you may find yourself a little lonely. Not going to church may feel like cutting oneself off from the "vine" of the church (Jesus is the true vine and you are always attached to Him!!). Perhaps we all need a dose of "de-conditioning" if we have been church goers for a long time. Many churches teach wrong ideas about the church that are not Biblical. We have covered many of them at this website--but probably not all of them.
If you are alone---do the best you can to utilize the time and gifts that you have. Philip the evangelist operated all by himself and did all the things that the apostles did. You can do the same. But in our day and age, with the internet and other means of communication, it is easy to be connected with other believers and operate in the Gospel. Don't let the weight of the world come upon you--don't be discouraged---God is with you and He will find ways for you to minister. These ways will become the greatest kind of fulfillment you can ever have and keep you safe from the world.
Families. the Christian home and marriage are the true church. They are the "pillar and ground of truth". Christian families are more powerful in God than any organized church. The agreement of husband and wife is the basis of Christian ministry. The greatest example you could ever set for your children is NOT church attendance---it is actually working with them in ministry. Actually letting them see you feed the poor or care for the homeless or witness the Gospel to someone. A family in ministry is powerful in God, and frightening to the devil! And the more you do it together, the greater it will become---and the closer you will become. Love and ministry go hand in hand. Love and family go hand in hand. The love of a family in God--reaching out to the world with the Gospel--can accomplish incredible miracles for the Lord.
Groups. Are you at a point where you are organizing a home ministry with a group of other believers? Opening your home for the Gospel is a great thing. But do it right! When you are mixed in with other believers we need to realize that most will be church-goers to some degree. If you do not clearly encourage the right kind of ministry in your group, one of 2 things will probably happen. Either a pastor or someone "in authority" will question the group in some way (resulting in the break-up of the group) or the group will become a social gathering of believers. Either fate is horrendous---and both are cop-outs---the "sheeping-out" of people who ought to be ministering--the result of what Jesus warned of --the "exercising of authority one over another". It is Gods' move that counts.--and you have every right as a group of beleivers to do exactly what He leads you to do. You are fully the church--no matter if only "2 or 3 are gathered together". In God you have all His power and all His ministry available for you to operate in.
This means you ought to consciously operate in the parts of ministry. You ought to work as apostles
first (being sent out to the world with the Gospel)
second operate in the prophetic gift (pray in the Spirit--and expect to receive the directions for the Gospel through prayer)
thirdly you ought to teach new believers--"pastoring"--guiding them to their own ministry--to actively participate in the group.
This is the full plan of God for the church to operate. It is a simple, direct and effective plan to spread the Gospel--and is meant to be done by small groups. This is what "apostleship" is all about--the spreading of the Gospel in small groups--to form more small groups.
What if the group grows? Danger! If you carry on ministry--in a group--and witness the Gospel--the group will grow. Danger! Someone in the group will suggest that you ought to raise money and rent a meeting place. Danger! Someone will suggest that you ought to become the pastor. Danger! This will become the end of the move of God and the beginning of your kingdom and rulership. You didn't want it--but it was somehow "thrust upon you"!
Answer: The plan of release and apostleship must consciously and carefully be continued and propagated. Let's repeat what we said above once again---the goal is: the spreading of the Gospel in small groups--to form more small groups. The move of God must continue in small groups--in order to be obedient to the rules of meeting. (which allow anyone to teach, prophecy or speak)
Every gift must be used, and every voice must be heard in order for the gospel to be spread, and in order to defeat the devil.
The Bible example is of a large church (3,000 were baptized on the day of pentecost)--but they met in small groups--in their homes--on an ongoing daily basis and had the result that the church was added to daily. We have no doubt that if Christians did the same today we would have the same result today. Remember--not a rule of "everyone in one place"--or "everyone ever day". No--utilizing every spare moment we all have to further the Gospel. Working together as equals--as true brothers and sisters in the Lord--simply directly--with what we have--not seeking to "live up" to the expectations of tradition.
Are you a pastor?
Are you a pastor of a church reading this? Are you interested in changing--in reforming your church operational plan? Have you realized that the true pastoral anointing is simply a gift of God to release others to serve God? Have you realized that ministry is NOT authority over other believers---and that the church is meant to operate as a group of equals?
First---people need to be taught release. More importantly they need to have the opportunity to work in release--to operate in ministry--to serve God. The meeting of Christians ought to be all about this. Instead of meeting with a format--meet with the openness of hearing every voice. Within your church are all the gifts needed to accomplish all the Gospel---release those gifts! Organize those gifts! Give every opportunity for every believer to function in their ministry! Supply what they need---operate with apostleship----let the apostolic ministry be first---let the prophetic ministry give you the words of specific Gospel operation.
If you "have a church" as a pastor--you can possibly revolutionize the world--with all the gifts in your church. But they won' go anywhere if they are "under your authority"---they must be under Gods' authority--and simply teaching this is not enough! If you truly reformed your church---many people would leave---you would have to sell your building--and you would have to work with others as equals. Can you truly do this? It would be very difficult---but if you did it---your could quickly spread the Gospel like wildfire throughout your area and the world.
A funny suggestion---"tithe" to your own ministry. Now, after all we have at this website which proves that the "tithe" is not Biblical--we make this suggestion? Well it's not a literal one. God does not 'require 1/10th of all we have" (as so many teach!)--the greater truth is that He asks us for all we have. Now we all say that we give our life to the Lord (and certainly we mean it)--but how much money should we give? Well, what about this idea. If you are a priest (as the new testament says we all are)--why not take about 1/10th of your income and use it for your own priesthood--your own ministry? You don't really have to be didactic about it--you should be open to give more or less. God does not want our percentages--He wants our hearts--fully given to Him. But ministry is a responsibility in the Lord (a blessed and fun responsibility!)--and money may be a part of your ministry (although there is much that can be done without any funding at all). Raising money absolutely should not be the first concern of a ministry--the faith hat the Lord will provide is much more effective.
Now, most of us work (what great ministry can be accomplished by retirees!!) for a living---but Jesus said that we cannot 'serve God and money". What does this mean? It is really a very important and powerful faith principle in the Bible which is often overlooked. Jesus said that there are 2 kingdoms--that of serving God and that of serving money. They operate in opposition to one another (this is why it is important for ministry to be free--and not involve money to a great degree). The amazing principle that Jesus is teaching in these verses is a very simple yet powerful one.
The more you serve God (by ministering the Gospel to others)---the less you will desire to serve money--and in fact the more you serve God--the more the kingdom of money and service to it will "come under your feet". Serving God is a much higher place than serving money. Try it. Serve God the way He leads you. You will surely find that you spend less time and money the worldly pursuits you may have had. Small testimony: we as a family began to serve God at a certain point in our lives. Within a short time we paid off all the debt we had--including our home---began to save money (sowing and reaping is how money operates--just in case you didn't know) and retired at 42 years old. Serving God in fact simply served to open our eyes to all that we already had---and serving God will do the same for you---try it!
Where to give money? Biblically we should give to the needs of anyone around us who has need---especially to Christians. But needs are not just the physical needs---rather they are the ministry needs of others. If the church operated Biblically---anyone who had a call from the Lord to carry out a specific ministry should be given to. Do not give to one person--or those who claim to be "in authority"---this is not Biblical---and will limit your own ministry. Don't give to yourself! When we say to give to your own ministry---we mean really that you a re giving to others through your direct service to them. The traditionally organized church is tricky--in that it says to "give to God" and to "give to the Gospel" and yet most of the money goes to operate a building which is exclusively for the use of us Christians. We don't want to go into all the excuses that are given in this area--they are endless. Again--the traditionally organized church looks powerful and impressive---but serves to effectively breed silent sheep. Many many silent sheep are needed in order to build the big building. many many silent sheep are needed in order to make one person "famous" and to "have the rule" (and we call him a "minister"!!).
So, remember--money may be part of ministry---but it really is not as important as is commonly taught. Keep it away from your ministry as much as possible. If you can't seem to give away the Gospel for free---re-think it---maybe there is some other way. God has many many money answers for you---think "outside-the-box"---and he will give you the answers you need.
4. reforming the church.
Challenge church "authority". In history, every time someone has done this--God has moved powerfully. (Maybe this is because we are not supposed to have "church authority"!!). If you are in a church---challenge the leaders with the Bible. You will find that most "professional ministers" know next to nothing about what the Bible says regarding ministry. They will lead you to old testament stuff that sounds impressive and "deep". Most of what the old testament says about ministry is canceled very specifically by the new testament.
Ask the pastor "where are the apostles in the church"? Challenge the church about the operational rules laid out in 1Corinthians chapters 12-14. What you will probably face are shifting levels of excuses. Don't be convinced by them---(and realize they cannot be right since they change constantly!). Eventually you will be just "dismissed"--the pastor will run away from you---you will be labeled a "bad sheep"---the pastor will worry that you might influence the other sheep.
If reform gets nowhere--leave. Be warned--a little reform can be worse than none at all. The church should constantly be reforming on a daily basis to be shaped they way the Lord needs us to be shaped. His kingdom needs to be the first priority. There are many who speak of these high principles from the pulpit and authentically want people to serve God and be released----but as long as they are in the pulpit--they are standing on the neck of people and expecting them to run. The function of leadership in the Bible was to give opportunity to others to serve God---real opportunity. Considering all that we have and own as Christians--if we just took this on as our 1st purpose (1st apostles!!!)--got rid of the exclusive club and ruling office of "ministry"---we could get the world saved in no time.
We don't need more speeches---we need more real ministry.
to sum it all up---ministry--just do it!