Growing up, our church bulletin listed the worship leaders each week. Next to the title “Pastor” was listed the name of the clergy person serving our congregation. Next to the title “Ministers” was the word: All.
One of the reasons I am a United Methodist is our very robust understanding of ministry. Ministry is not limited to the vocational work of the clergy. Ministry is the work of all those who are disciples of Jesus Christ. In fact, The Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church dedicates an entire section to “The Ministry of All Christians. Para.126 reads:
“All Christians are called through their baptism to this ministry of servanthood in the world to the glory of God and for human fulfillment. The forms of this ministry are diverse in locale, in interest, and in denominational accent, yet always catholic in spirit and outreach.”
I had an interesting conversation with someone after worship a week ago about an exciting ministry opportunity. This wonderful daughter of Christ said, “Well we’re so excited you’re here to do it!” I replied, “I’m here to give you what you need to do that work!”
I think it took her aback for a moment. Too often we think of the “work of the church” to belong to the clergy alone (and the church staff by extension), when in reality each of us is called to engage in ministry that is diverse in interest and (as the B.O.D. states) denominational accent.
I love that this statement is not limiting to us in the United Methodist Church. We believe that any person who follows Jesus has an important part in the work of the Church Universal. If we think that we get to just sit back and let someone else do all the work, we’re not fooling anyone!
So I wonder what your ministry is, believer. What are you feeling called to keep doing? What are you feeling called to start? What resources or support do you need to engage your heart’s work for Jesus? It does not have to be something big and spectacular, but it does have to be something.
We’re all in ministry together. Each of us. All of us.