What picture does your mind conjure when you hear the word “minister?” My mind draws the picture of a pastor or a worship leader – someone who works for a church or a para-church organization. Their goal is to get you to trust Jesus or to grow your trust in Jesus. We further define them, too. Evangelists work with those who have never trusted Jesus and Pastors, or disciple-makers work with everyone else.
Certainly, people who have jobs at secular for-profit, non-profit, or government organizations can’t be a minister, can they? To become a minister, don’t they have to quit their job and go to work for a church or para-church organization?
I used to think a minister was someone who worked for a church.
When I look at the verbs translated “minister” many are also translated by “serve.” When I look at the nouns translated “minister” they are also translated by “servant” or sometimes even “deacon.” Jesus summed up his own work with that word. “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45) Jesus served, or ministered. And he asks us to serve. Serving others, going the extra mile, turning the other cheek, is how we make Jesus visible. We let our light shine by those actions so that people may see our good works and glorify our Father (Matthew 5:16).
Rather than trying to find ways for people to serve us, Jesus encourages us to look for ways to serve others. An employee is a servant. Being an employee for someone else is a ministry. But I seldom (and I believe many never) think of ministry this way.
Who Wants to Minister?
Want to go into ministry? Begin praying for the people you meet every day. Serve your boss. Help your coworkers. Make it your job to do everything you do today like you were doing it for Jesus (Colossians 3:23-24). For many of us, maybe even most of us, this is the mission God has for us. Think about it.
Want to be more “on mission” in your job? Check out the Marketplace Mission Trip and sign up. We will practice quietly serving our coworkers in order to make Jesus visible. Check it out!