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.
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.
Hello John, This is an excellent article and I enjoyed reading all within it. I also expanded my reading to include Barnes, Matthew Henry and The Expositors Commentary. They helped me examine the referenced scripture and of most importance each word. I enjoy this sort of study, I know you do too. Thanks for your post John. God bless and Happy Thanksgiving. We are almost there. Jose
Good point, Jose. I read through those commentaries sometimes as well.
This is a topic that I cover each quarter in the SHAPE class, so I’ve covered it many times.
I hope you have a great Thanksgiving. Travel safe, my friend.