Will The Real Minister Please Stand Up?


What do you think about when you hear the word Minister? Some may think of a person, most often a man, dressed in all black, possibly wearing a white backwards collar, who works professionally preaching from the Bible, ministering to the sick, and counseling the hurting. Others think of a missionary, in some remote country, sharing the good news of Jesus Christ to unreached people groups. Still others may think of a hermit monk, priest, or televangelist.

So, what is the true definition of a Minister?

The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines a Minister as “a person whose job involves leading church services, performing religious ceremonies (such as marriages), and providing spiritual or religious guidance to other people: a member of the clergy in some Protestant churches.”

That’s a pretty good definition from the world’s viewpoint, but it’s incorrect.

thumbs down

In Ephesians 4:11-12 (NLT), Paul writes, “Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do His work and build up the church, the body of Christ.”

According to this scripture, the pastors, teachers, apostles, prophets, and evangelists are the ones who “equip” God’s people to do the work of the ministry. This can only mean that “God’s people” are the ones who do the work of the ministry.

Therefore, God’s people, those who have begun a relationship with Jesus Christ, who have asked the Lord for forgiveness for their sins, who have repented of their sins and made Jesus the Lord of their lives, are the Real Ministers in the body of Christ.

This means so much for all Christians everywhere:

  • It means that every Christian is responsible for the work of the ministry.
  • It means that everyone has a job to fulfill.
  • It means that pastors, teachers and leaders have a greater responsibility to teach others to serve and to lead.
  • It means that all believers in Jesus must live holy lives, not just those in vocational ministry.
  • It means we must all look for opportunities to serve.
  • It means that we are all interdependent upon each other.

So, greetings, fellow minister. It’s an honor serving with you.

Welcome Back


Last night, as I slept on my cushioned mattress topper in New Orleans, I dreamed of Nicaraguan sheet metal houses and dirt floors. As I woke, it was hard to rise and continue my regular life, because the life changing moments of the past week still held true in my mind.

I picture the 83 year old woman in the Batman t-shirt welcoming us to her home, the fruit distributor praying with one of our team members for the first time in his life, the young unwed mother to be holding her belly as she gave her life to Christ, and the faces of the children as they gathered in the church with their bowls, spoons, and cups to receive their most nutritious and filling meal of the week.

But then, I also can’t stop thinking about the conversation I had with the lady security officer in the Miami International Airport. She noticed the matching shirts on our smiling team and asked, “Where have you been?”

“Oh,” I replied, surprised by her question, “We’ve been in Granada, Nicaragua for a week serving together.”

“Serving together?” she asked. “What were you doing in Nicaragua?”

Suddenly moving into churchy language, I said, “We were doing evangelistic work.”

Hmm,” she replied. “I’m not sure what that means.”

“I’m sorry,” I said. “What I meant to say is that we’ve been in Nicaragua sharing and showing the love of Jesus.”

Her face contorted. “Really?”

“Yes, Ma’am.”

“Ok,” she said, no longer interested. “Move along now. Welcome back to the United States.”

I turned and continued through the airport, surprised at her resistance to the name of Jesus.

“Welcome back to reality,” I whispered to myself.

Our Nicaragua trip was awesome. I hope everyone on the trip has an opportunity to return and see more people won into the kingdom for Jesus. I pray that our church family will continue to support the ongoing work of the Lord in that place. I believe He will call more people from our congregations to serve in full time in remote areas.
However, my prayer for all of us, especially today, is that we will continue to live as missionaries in our everyday lives. For, that is where our everyday realities will meet our true convictions.