The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines ministry as: 1) the office, duties, or functions of a minster; 2) the body of minsters of religion; 3) a person or thing through which something is accomplished; 4) the body of ministers governing a nation or state from which a smaller cabinet is sometimes selected, etc.
My definition of ministry:
As I enter my 6th year as the executive director of the Mission, and as I reflect on those years, I can definitely say that my definition of Ministry has changed. Initially, I thought it was all about the people we served, and don’t get me wrong, that is why I’m here, but now as I’ve watched God ‘move and work’ in the lives of so many people, at so many different stages of their lives, myself included, I’ve come to believe in a much more holistic and encompassing definition. A definition that can best be described as the sum of many parts or as a beautiful tapestry woven together with the lives of our guests and program participants, the staff, the BOD, the partner groups we work with, the churches and ministries beyond our borders, our vendors, our donors, and so on.
This is what Ministry means to me now:
1) Ministry isn’t what we do, it’s who we are! It’s not about the blessed serving the least fortunate. Ministry is about the broken living together with the broken! 2) Ministry is love in action, and love is patient, kind, forgiving, etc. 1st Corinthians 13:4-7. Easy to say harder to do! 3) When it comes to staffing this Ministry, there must always be room for everyone. The physically disabled, the immigrant or refugee seeking citizenship here, the addict come clean, the ones with the BA’s and MA’s, and so on. This is an essential part of the Ministry. It’s what makes us as a faith based Ministry different from the norm, it’s not about ‘rising to the top’; it’s about collectively being one! See John 17:21. 4) We ALL need hope, affirmation, and opportunity. 5) Ministry is about mutually beneficial relationships with our vendors and partners!
6) Ministry is about Kingdom Growth, it’s not just about what’s happening within the walls of our buildings and in the lives of the people, whoever they may be, within our walls, it’s also about what’s happening in other buildings in other places, and what’s happening in the lives of the people within those walls! Does that make sense? 7) Ministry is GRACE and MERCY! 8) Ministry resources should never be taken for granted! Every donation makes a difference! From the ‘widow’s mite’ to the $500,000 estate donation! 9) Ministry can make you cry and it can make you laugh! Sometime you laugh because you’ve cried so much! It’s all in how you process the myriad of challenges that come your way every day. Ultimately, I think that in the end it should be as fun as you can make it, sometimes we’re just too serious! 10) Ministry is all about people. Its names and faces not numbers!
I guess in conclusion, I would just say that MINISTRY IS NOT WHAT WE DO, BUT HOW WE LIVE!