This is the first in an occasional series in which I will explore some of the questions raised on applications or in interviews that have caused me to linger a bit in thought.
The question for this post: What is ministry?
You might be a recent seminary grad if you looked at this question and thought “which Confession should I reference first?” or wondered how to link it to traditional Reformed theology. It’s an interesting question, to be honest, but with no more context than those three words, it took me a little while to frame an answer that felt like it was from the heart and not some academic head space.
Here’s where I went with it:
Ministry is anything that we do in response to God’s love for us that helps to make disciples or extends love to our neighbors and back to God. In other words, ministry happens when our lives are a proclamation of the things we say we believe. Often, this happens under the auspices of the church- in worship, in teaching others, in service to the community together. Ministry is also the way we love people, live justly and point to God’s grace in our every day lives- at work, at home, at play, at school.
This points to that Reformed concept of all believers being part of a royal priesthood, that all believers are called to minister to one another and in the world. We have orders of ministry that set apart some women and men for particular areas of ministry and leadership that require training and commitment to specific standards. However, these pastors, elders and deacons should never be understood as the only ministers in a congregation.
How would you have approached this question? What would you add?