Faith & Encouragement | The Business of Ministry

Ministry Isn’t Words

March 20, 2013

Do you have a need?


Call the pastor and text the core group leader.  Email the prayer chain or send a postcard to that ministry for prayer.

Read that blog and link to it.  Write about it. Share your own words.

Buy the book.  Subscribe to that newsletter.  Pass that article around Facebook.  Write a letter to the editor.   Perform free verse poetry.

Practice your testimony.

What do you do when it becomes obvious that ministry isn’t found in the words?

Collectively, we spend hours and days, weeks and months conjugating verbs and polishing our voices until pitch perfect, poignant, and powerful we step out and speak.   Clinging tightly to the dream that the sheer eloquence of our words and  of our passion will ring through our syllables and lives will miraculously change.

How often do we dream of transformation of the masses through only the magnificence of our message?

Except that isn’t ministry. It’s simply talking in different forms.

Sadly, our lives can be anything we want them to be on the other side of the screen, the platform, the producer, the church bulletin. Sad, because, often we live very differently on the other side of the keyboard, the screen…

When Jesus shared His life with others, as He spoke words of life to them, He gathered children onto His lap.  He touched the blind man, the leper, the dead girl, and the naked demon-possessed desperate for help.

Could He have done it all with a word as He did at the moment of Creation?

Certainly.  Yet, even then it is apparent we, the pinnacle of God’s creation, needed more than just words.  We needed contact with a comforting presence walking with us in the cool of the evening.

How many times do you suppose that unique trio paused on the bluff overlooking Eden and watch, in contentment, as the sun set over paradise?  No words.  Only a shared vision.

A common life.

Ministry cannot be found in the simplicity of the medium of words because ministry is a hands in the garden, grime under your fingernails, mud on your shoes kind of dirty.    It breathes, ebbs and flows, exists, thrives beyond the words we speak.

Like many things in life, words are only a vehicle.  An important method, yes, but still only a vehicle that we can use to enlighten, inspire, or overwhelm, isolate.  Those who place their faith in their own words create dividing lines between the great orator and the simple John 3:16 of one of us who is newly born into the kingdom of God.

“If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am…”  1 Corinthians 13  reminds us.

Wasting my time.  I’m noise.  I am pride.  I am arrogance.

How do we speak? What do we say?

How then, shall we live?

This is the second in a multi-part series on “The Business of Ministry” that I started a couple weeks ago with the article “Business Isn’t Management”.

Read there first to get on board with this conversation and throw in your two cents!

  • Nathan McCranie

    Thanks. We kid ourselves if we think we can be safe behind the screen. To touch lives requires touch.

  • @Nathan, I love that line “to touch lives requires touch”. So much truth there.