Invent a Ministry
The Smiths work hard all week long. Michael’s job usually requires much more than a forty-hour weekly commitment. Susan never imagined such a busy life. And while their children aren’t over-involved, just a couple of school, sports, or music activities per week by each of them puts many extra miles on the family van almost every afternoon and evening.
The Smiths spend most of the rest of their time trying to catch up with “life maintenance”—housework, shopping, paying bills, yard work, running errands, and all the rest. They almost always feel behind or overwhelmed.
And yet, like all those indwelled by the Spirit of Christ, they love what Christ loves—the church. They genuinely want to serve the Lord in and through His church. They have a good sense of the biblical priorities in life, but they struggle with what often seems too many priorities.
They don’t want to be mere religious consumers at church. Instead they want to minister, and do so in a way that glorifies God, strengthens the church, provides an example to their children, and edifies themselves. With everything else going on in their lives at this time, and with the limited options for ministry at their church, what should they do?
Some in this situation could find a solution to their problem just by talking with their pastor about it. He probably knows of opportunities for service invisible to many church members. Moreover, he’s certain to have ideas for ministries the church could begin if only the workers appeared.
For many people, a simple, creative solution is to invent a ministry. Perhaps the Lord has allowed the current circumstances just so the Smiths and people like them would look in new directions and begin some much-needed, but previously unconsidered ministry.
This is similar to what happened in Acts 6:1-7 when a situation developed that prompted the church’s leadership to invent a ministry to meet a growing need.
While most churches need workers in the existing ministries, the inability to fit well in one of them may be God’s prompting to start a new one. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a formally recognized ministry. It could be as simple as providing transportation for someone who’s blind, feeble, or without a car. Or it might be showing up extra early just to be available where needed.
If the idea of inventing a new ministry appeals to you, begin by asking the Lord to show you the answer to these two questions: “What are the greatest needs inside the church?” and “What are the church’s greatest needs for outreach?” By guiding your recollection, observation, or the comments of others, I’m confident He’ll lead you.
The Bible says, “And let us not grow weary of doing good” (Galatians 6:9). Why is this in the Scriptures? Because for so many reasons we do get tired while doing good. Like Jesus, let us never give up on His church or its work, no matter how tired or busy we become. Dream of new ways to use the gifts, skills, resources, and desires God has given you in imaginative and fulfilling ways in your church.
Taken from Simplify Your Spiritual Life (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2003), pages 188-89.
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[…] Donald Whitney for what he is saying here: inventing a ministry doesn’t necessarily mean starting a new program, but rather jumping in where you’re […]
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[…] Invent a Ministry. HT to Challies. Love this. One of my themes is that ministry isn’t always in an official church-sponsored activity. It’s being available for God to use you all throughout the day. Another is the “Someone should…” or “The church should…” mentality, forgetting we ARE the church. I’ve been thinking about a possible blog post along these lines. […]
[…] 4. Invent A Ministry: Donald Whitney – Whitney notes, “While most churches need workers in the existing ministries, the inability to fit well in one of them may be God’s prompting to start a new one. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a formally recognized ministry. It could be as simple as providing transportation for someone who’s blind, feeble, or without a car. Or it might be showing up extra early just to be available where needed.” […]
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