Archive for November, 2013

Too much Church, Not enough Ministry

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, and this is the first blog post that I choose to write?  Oh boy, might as well get ready.  Before we get into the meat and potatoes of this, let me make this point loud and clear:  THIS IS NOT A POST THAT IS BASHING CHURCH OR BASHING CHRISTIANITY.  THIS IS ABOUT SPEAKING TRUTH!  THIS IS NOT ABOUT TELLING PEOPLE WHAT THEY SHOULD OR SHOULDN’T DO, THIS IS BOUT SHARING WHAT I KNOW TO BE TRUE NOTHING MORE, NOTHING LESS!  I’M ALSO VERY CLEAR THAT THIS DOESN’T APPLY TO ALL CHURCHES, I’M JUST RELATING MY EXPERIENCE OF THE COURSE OF MY LIFE THUS FAR!

I’ve been thinking about this for a long time now.  Too many people confuse Church with a building, and the building with Ministry.  I used to be one of those people, going to church 3, 4, 5, and sometimes 6 (or depending on the time of year) or all 7 days a week.  In church all the time and believing that is what God truly wanted for me to do and where he wanted me to be; thinking that if I was in church all the time that I would miraculously discover my “ministry calling”.  I spent so much time in Church to the point where I really began to believe the lie that everything that I did outside of church needed to stop because it wasn’t of God.  That is one of the biggest myth’s perpetuated today.  The reality that I discovered as I worked in my old church as well as went and visited and participated in events with other churches in the neighborhood is that so many people spend so much time in church that some of the genuine things that we should be doing have been taken for granted and become routine exercises of the flesh and emotion rather than genuine acts of worship of the Spirit.  But worse of all, there really wasn’t a whole lot of actual Ministry going on.  To explain what I mean, let’s define what ministry actually is.  In the Old Testament, there are 3 Hebrew words for Ministry.  The first is:

1. Shareth: service in the tabernacle

2. ‘abodah: labor, service (of God), work

3. Yad: hand of man, strength, power, side of land, part or portion, time, repitition

In the New Testament we find 2 words for Ministry:

1. Diakonia: service, of those who by the command of God proclaim and promote religion among men; the ministration of those who render to others the office of Christian affection especially those who help meet need be either collecting or distributing of charities; the office of prophets, postles, evangelists, elders, deacoms, etc. and its administration.

2. Leitourgia: any service; of the service of workmen; of that done to nature in the cohabitation of man and wife; a gift or benefaction for the relief of the needy.

Do you get the theme of these definitions, ACT OF SERVICE.  Now some might say but Haneef, I serve my pastor, my bishop, my evangelist, my board member, etc. so what’s wrong with that?  If that is you, nothing is wrong with that, BUT what about those outside the church that are in need.  I’ve seen too many examples of “pastors” and other church leaders setting things up so that service is unto them and no one else.  As far as I know having others sever you was not part of the Great Commission or the teachings of Christ.  Unless I misread the Bible and what Jesus said about the Great Commission:

Matthew 28:16-20

King James Version (KJV)

16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them.  17 And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted.  18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.  19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

So if we are commanded to go into all the world, why are we spending so much time telling all the world to come into the 4 walls of the church?  Why are we telling people that you must forsake whatever gifting or insight doesn’t conform to the rules of the church (but is not forbidden by the Bible or is even contrary to Biblical Teaching)?  What happened to serving people and the community?  What happened to truly helping in all types of need (not just food)?  Then there’s the other side of this.  If you spend so much time in church to the point that your life is work, church, work and church, then what time do you have for your family?  What time do you truly you have for yourself?  What time do you have for your goals and dreams that are outside of church and fully aligned with God’s plan for your life?

I’ve said all that to say that like with alcohol (if you drink); food (if you overeat); or anything else that when misaligned/imbalanced can hurt you, use discretion and moderation.  Church can be a great place to learn, grow, and flourish but for most people, that is not necessarily the place of your ministry.  Take time to discover where that is, and live/work the ministry that is there for you.

Leave a comment