Every Christian should be involved in some form of ministry. Many believers especially those new to the faith, believe personal ministry is beyond their abilities. Please understand I am not saying that every Christian should pastor a church, or other large ministry. However much of the work of the church has been done, and should be done by what are called lay (not licensed or ordained) ministers. I have identified three ministries which are vital to the Lord's work, but can be performed by any average Christian. It is my belief that anything done in Jesus' name, and for his purposes can be correctly termed ministry unless the action is sinful on its face (i.e. murder.)
I - PRAYER: Not only is prayer a vital ministry by itself, but our prayers and the prayers of others for us. give us strength and wisdom for other ministries. As I have written elsewhere we should pray for others more than we pray fore ourselves. When we use prayer to serve others, we then have turned it into a powerful ministry.
Consider what the Bible says at James 5:16 " Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. " Obviously the apostle Paul thought that it was important for all of us to pray and not just for our own needs. Many people comment that they do not know what to pray. They want someone to give them the "right" words. My brothers and sisters there are no "right" words. It will help if you think of prayer as a conversation with Jesus. Just start talking with him, in your own words, about the burdens on your heart. He will listen, and both you and the one you pray for will be truly blessed.
II- FELLOWSHIP Our second vital ministry is very special because we must have each other for it to work. Fellowship is the act of gathering together. Even if we gather with other Christians in a purely social event we are ministering to each other. Some of the most empowering experiences I have had as a minister is when I get the chance to be with other members of the clergy. We pray together, we eat together, we play together, and we encourage each other. Spending time with like-minded people is very refreshing !
Think about what scripture says at Romans I 11-12, " For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established. That is that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith of you and me."
Being a Christian in today's very secular world can make one feel isolated. Coming together reminds us we are not alone in our faith. When Christ was on the earth he could have saved the entire world' population in an instant. However that was not God's plan. The Father and the Son meant for Jesus to teach us to bring each other to Christ. Once this was in place he died for our sins. This is why there are millions of Christian ministers throughout the world, but only one true word of God. The Christian faith is not a "spectator sport." Christ intends for us to participate not only in our own spiritual development but that of others. So don't miss that next church picnic etc, you may be missing out on the opportunity for a great blessing.
III EXAMPLE- Our final ministry applies not only to times of Christian fellowship as above, but to how we act when in the secular world. The example they show the world is perhaps the greatest opportunity the average Christian will have to share the meaning of being a Christian, The words of scripture should live through you ! How you handles the challenges and situations of daily life directly reflect on both you and your faith. In Titus II 6-7 we read " Likewise exhort the young men to be sober minded. In all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, and incorruptibility." Even people of other faiths will respect you more when you set a true Christian example in your daily dealings. You'll be pleasantly surprised how many people will know you are a Christian without you even telling them. People will want to be like you, when they see Christ within you. Pray that our Lord will make you more like him. Pray that your daily example will be more and more what he would have it to be. Pray for the strength to keep your Christian example even when it is difficult. The better your Christian example the more who will be blessed by it.
These three are certainly the only ministries which the average Christian can undertake. There are also many more details that could be discussed. However what I have written here is a very good start. The important thing is that you as an individual believer do something. I picked these three ministries because it struck me that they could be conducted by almost any Christian. Even a child can pray, anyone can engage in fellowship. Someone who is handicapped or going through some trial in there own life can be downright inspiring, simply by their example in handling the situation. Ministry is about service. Service to our Lord, and to each other. It is an obligation we all share. I pray in some small way I have strengthened your ministry.
Robert A. Crutchfield is an ordained bi-vocational minister based in Katy, Texas outside Houston. He has served as Chaplain General and Governor General of the Order of St. Isidore of Seville, and as chaplain of his local fire department. He currently is at work organizing Compassion Church of Katy, a new church in his community of which he will be pastor.