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  • Ministry — A Conversation Starter

    Jim Wallace

    A previous series on ‘training leaders’ argued that developing distinctly Christ-ian leaders is disruptive, messy and costly. Certain patterns and principles enlighten otherwise complex, confusing development processes. But the core curriculum is rigorous — and enabling grace is not an elective. Christ our Teacher demonstrated it this way.

    Our series also offered three mantras that guide our training of leaders at Three Fourteen Institute:

    “We don’t use people to get ministry done. We use ministry to get people done.”

    “We reject using people to complete (self-directed & self-serving) ministry labors.”

    “We require that ministry labors cultivate (Christ-directed & Christ-serving) multiplying leaders.”

    Even a casual glance notes the repetition of the term ‘ministry’ in these statements. And that begs the question: What do we mean by ‘ministry’?

    Sometimes the word carries a negative connotation. Sometimes, a positive one. On the one hand, there is a ‘ministry’ that uses people. It emphasizes tasks to serve the self (leader and/or subordinate). On the other, a ‘ministry’ that completes people — one that fixates on Christ and serves others.

    For the next few weeks we’ll explore varied meanings of ‘ministry.’ Positive and negative connotations. Broader and narrower understandings. And we’ll consider these varied meanings with one eye on ourselves; one on Christ.  

    For starters, let’s consider a few questions:

    What first comes to mind when you hear the word ‘ministry’?

    What do you mean when you say the word ‘ministry’? Do you also use it in multiple ways?

    Do you have a working description of ‘ministry’? If so, how strongly is it reflected in your lifestyle?