What do you think of when you hear the word “ministry”? Professionals? Collared clergy? Preaching? Pastors? In church, we use terms like “called to ministry” and “called to preach.” These are all very important concepts. Yet these concepts could give us the idea that the only “ministry”’ is the pastor preaching in the pulpit.
The truth is, preaching is the smallest part of true ministry. In fact, it is the least effective ministry that a person can give to people. Statistics tell us that people only retain 20% of what they hear. They retain 80% of what they do. What that means is the most effective ministry to other people is not what you say, but what you do.
The Greek word for “ministry” is diaconos, the same word we have for Deacon. Deacon simply means “servant”. Ministry is not a profession. It is an action. Pastoring can be a profession. Evangelist can be a profession. But ministry is not limited to what position you hold. Ministry is serving people. It is mowing for your elderly neighbor. Its serving people at the local agencies. It is knowing and loving the people you work with. Ministry happens as you serve people. We are all called to ministry!
Paul tells us that pastors do the work of “equipping the saints for the work of the ministry” (Eph 4:12). Ministry is being at the hospital in times of crisis. A word of encouragement in a down time. A hug. A phone call. A thank you note. A ball game. Being at important events. This is where ministry happens. The old attage is true, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
You are called to ministry. To serve the people in your world, wherever God has put you. They are your congregation to pastor. So put on your clergy collar today and remind yourself that you are in the ministry! Love people. Serve people.