Friday, October 19, 2012
The Ministry Of The Many
One sees that Paul approached the ministry at a supremely personal level. Entrusted with the Gospel by God, he related to others with integrity and genuine concern. He took great pains to guard against any suggestion that he was out to take advantage of his neighbors. And Paul worked small and quiet and face to face. He refused to take center stage under a spotlight, preferring to position himself in the wings alongside those he came to serve. You would not have seen Paul’s name displayed prominently in lights when he came to town — instead you would have had to search among the working class folks where he plied his trade quietly, with a kindness and friendliness that was contagious. As he says in verse 12, his focus was not on addressing crowds but on effectively encouraging “each one” around him as a father would his children.And flowing from this "style" of ministry is the fact that since ministry is not about "the man" is is about the men and women. Meaning Paul ministered to others so that they in turn could minister - that's what forming a community is all about.
common today. It is “power” religion, with an emphasis on the charisma of its leaders and their fine credentials, claims of spiritual “vision,” sensational gifts and otherworldly experiences, eloquent speech and striking presentation style, and of course, measurable and impressive “results.”
Contrast that with a man, called of God, who works with his hands, loves his neighbors, shares Christ with them, and forms them into a community that gathers around the Gospel, and you will see the difference between much American religion and Jesus-shaped apostolic ministry.
And with that comes the call to maturity. What is maturity after all? It is moving from dependency to independency, or for the Christian it is moving from dependency on he or she that introduces us to Christ to direct dependency on Christ. Part of being independent (or in this case directly dependent on Christ)is replicating that which was given to us.
A ministry spotlight tends to keep people dependent on whoever is in the spotlight, but more it hogs resources from those who seek to minister in other manners.
Paul was building The church, not HIS church. That meant he had to make mature and passionate ministers so that things would continue to spread - without his physical presence.