Patheos | What Does Ministry Mean to You?

WILLS POINT, TX – Gospel for Asia (GFA) – Discussing the definitions that encompass missions & ministry, the sacrifice and service, from those who are behind-the-scenes to the national missionaries who are in the field.

Let me ask you a quick question. When you hear the word “ministry,” what words come to mind? I posed this question to several GFA staff members and wrote their answers down.

“God” and “Jesus” were, obviously, chiefly among the answers, followed by “sacrifice” and “service.”

But why “sacrifice”? Why “service”?

Do those words come to your mind when you hear the word, “ministry”? Or do other images come to mind? Do your thoughts wander to lands far off, of sprawling jungles or shifting sands? Do you think of the stories and testimonies of missionaries long gone?

Ministry can happen anywhere, whether it takes place through a local outreach program run by a church or through an international missions organization. According to Merriam-Webster, to “minister” is “to function as a minister of religion, or to give aid or service.” GFA as a missions organization fits both categories. Through the generous donations of our supporters, we are providing national workers in Asia with the tools and resources they need to minister to the hurting and needy.

As Christians, we are called to serve wherever the Lord sends us. But what does it truly mean to serve? For staff members of GFA, one aspect of serving the Lord means we are working behind-the-scenes, aiding the work in Asia from behind desks in our own country.

Jesus says in Mark 10:45, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

To give one’s life as ransom for many—what does that even mean? For many, like our brothers and sisters on the missions field, it is literally laying down their lives so others may hear of Jesus. That is sacrifice. Paul in writing to the Romans says,

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1).

But what else might ministry include?

1 Peter 4:10 says, “As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”

The gifts of God, whether it be things like love, prayer or encouragement, should be given freely in service to those around us, whether they are Christian or not. Showering God’s great love on others is a vital aspect of ministry, for as Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 13, we can accomplish great things in God’s name, but if we have not love we “are as clanging cymbals.”

What Does Ministry Mean to You?

Having grown up in GFA, I can say with little doubt that I know what ministry requires. Firstly, a great deal of personal sacrifice, and secondly, a servant’s heart. They go hand-in-hand—rarely do you see one without the other, at least in my experience.

Ministry can occur wherever and whenever. Whether in your church, your community or in missions helping workers bring the love of God to the furthest corners of the world. So, take a minute to think: What does ministry mean to you?

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