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  • Ministry & The Other

    Jim Wallace

    To pick up where we left off: ‘Ministry’ is a word we commonly use, though it can slip in and out of varied meanings. Unfortunately, it sometimes carries negative freight.

    With that in mind, however, we want to highlight portions of our institute’s statements that have positive connotations:

    “…We use ministry to get people done.”

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

    Here ministry serves the person—the other. Not the other way around. It strives to fill the hole of human emptiness seeking to satisfy self in consuming others. In other words, surviving on the lifeblood of others. Primarily to take, not to give, in completing self-serving tasks. Indeed, this might even meaning that the self needs to be given over for the sake of The Other who multiplies gifts to the blessing of others. Imagine a seed willing to drop into the ground to bear many other living seeds.

    Christ-directed. Our last post singled out the word ‘orientation’ in relation to the self. And The Other? The ministry of Jesus appeared to have an unbroken communication with God. It also seemed to have an unflinching submission to the Father. …Then, with the post-Pentecost apostles, there seems to be an analogous movement of communion/submission to the crucified-resurrected-ascended Jesus. Additionally, these same apostles championed a communion/submission to one another in His church. ‘Lone rangers’ were unnecessary and unwelcome in this distinctively Christ-ian lifestyle.

    Christ-serving. ‘Consumption’ was also previously highlighted. Some questions: What did Christ consume as He served others? What did He encourage others to consume—to buy, receive, eat and drink—as they still served others also? Gleanings from Jesus’ apostles sent out to multiply disciples and churches point to an other-worldly perspective on supply and demand, provision and consumption. An other-worldly treasure of limitless, unending value.

    Reflective exercises to consider:

    –Describe your own view of Christ’s ‘orientation’ in decision-making, related to God and others.

    –Describe your own understanding of Christ’s ‘consumption’ in relationship to God and others.

    –Suggestion: If it shows up in Christ’s lifestyle … first consider it likely it should show up in yours.