3 Conversations, Disciples Making Disciples: Your Life As Ministry
This is the third and final week of our series: Three Conversations – Disciples making Disciples. Two weeks ago, we spoke about intentional prayer. Praying with intentions is a type of conversation with God and with others. We name our intentions out loud; others name their intentions out loud. In that way we talk to God, and we take some time to listen to God. Talking and listening, that’s conversation. That’s prayer. We asked you to continue to practice intentional prayer. Practice praying with your family and close friends this way asking them to name a thing for which they want you to pray.
Last week we discussed sharing your faith with someone else. That is our second conversation. Sharing our faith can be simple and easy. Don’t make it complicated. Start with someone with whom you are comfortable. Tell them a little about your life story and how, or why, God is important to you. When you look back on your life, were there some timeswhere you now recognize that God was telling you something or pointing you in a direction? Was there a time when going to church seemed very meaningful to you and why? Was there a time when your heart felt particularly moved and you felt very close to God’s Son, Jesus?
We are often so quick to share good news with others, like our favorite sports team winning; we discover a great restaurant and want to share that; we go on a great vacation and just can’t wait to tell our friends about that experience. Or maybe you are in love, and you want to share that experience with others. If I can share those experiences, surely I can find it within myself to share how much God loves me and how much God loves you. So we also encouraged you to practice that type of conversation. Practice with people around whom you are comfortable, family and friends, then try it with someone outside your closest circle.
When we step outside of our comfort zones and pray with others, others we have not prayed with, or share our story around those with whom we have not shared it, we are doing what Jesus told us to do. We are making disciples. It really is as simple as having those two conversations.
Today we are looking at the third conversation. We want to help you see how you can, or already do, witness the faith to people in your lives. If one works or volunteers for the church often we refer to that person’s work as ministry. For example, we have our music ministry and our children’s ministry. All who are involved in those ministries help to minister to others. As you minister in those ways, you are giving witness to what you believe, and our faith, by the way you love and serve others. However, you do not need to be an official minister or belong to a group in the parish who ministers to others in order for you to be a minister.
The word minister comes from a latin word that means servant. We are all ministers, in that we all serve in many different capacities. All of us here areministers in one way or another because we all serve in one way or another.
Not all of us will have the privilege to be paid to work in ministry. Many priests, deacons, nuns, different ministers on Sundays, and children’s ministers are never paid for the work they do. Your ministry does not come from a job title or from a paycheck signed by a church – it comes from God giving us his work and his Son.
You may not feel qualified to tell people about Jesus. You might not believe you’re able to bring someone closer to God. But you are qualified and you are able to bring someone closer to God.
Every day when you go to work you show people what life is like living alongside Jesus. Through your joy, in your persistence in trials, while you’re caring or thoughtful. Each moment of your life becomes a testament and a testimony for God as soon as you walk out of the door each and every morning.
If you have children, the way you treat your kids shows them how their Heavenly Father loves them. The way you care for your spouse shows them how God cares for his creation. None of these things require a job title or a paycheck, a role on a staff or achurch to give you the authority to do it. God gave you the authority when he sent his Son to die on the cross for you – all you have to do is keep reflecting him in the life you live.
When we divide our existence into two separate parts — “ministry” or “life” — guess which one gets the short end of the stick? Guess which one has to get by on your leftover time, your leftover energy, your leftover finances, and your leftover passion?
If you see ministry as something that you do when you step out of your life — that is, when the church has programmed and scheduled some form of ministry for you — then the vast majority of your life is yours to use for just for you.
But the bible teaches the reverse of those priorities. It challenges us with the reality that nothing we have belongs to us. We don’t have a life divided into God’s part or our part. It’s all “God’s part,” the whole thing. “You are not your own, for you were bought with a price.” (1 Corinthians 6:20)
This means that we have been brought into relationship with God, not only so WE could be rescued by Jesus, but so that we may be part of God’s rescue of others. Our life exists for his purposes. We were given life and breath to help maximize the glory of Another. This is why life is ministry.
Remember every facet of life is a forum for ministry. You will never face a day that is not filled with ministry need and opportunity. The work you do, and the way you live your life, contributes to the ministry and mission of Jesus and of his Church. Are your eyes open to your opportunities, and are you capturing the opportunities God is giving you to minister through love and service?
Maybe you are thinking, “I’m just too busy to be thinking about all that.” Doesn’t that priest know all the things I have to do every day. Who has time to be thinking about being a witness to God and faith? That’s not reality. Life is complicated and busy.”
Really? Here is what Jesus has to say about that. “What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?” Are we so caught up in the things of this world, that we are willing to risk our eternal life? Are we so caught up in the things of this world that we refuse to follow Jesus’ command to love, serve, and make disciples.
Jesus also tells us we should lose our life for him and thus gain everything. We can do that by standing up for him through love and service when it’s awkward for us to do so because we are giving a bit of our life for him everytime we stand up for him when it’s not easy. And when we do that, we gain everything in the process, not just in eternal life but in the quality and joy of your Christian life, now, here on earth.
Here is what we would like for you to do.
Practice. Share with others how your life is a ministry of leading people to Jesus. Share with others, telling them, how you share Jesus with the world. Start sharing with those with whom you are comfortable. Start with family and Christian friends. How is your life a ministry of leading people to Jesus. In that way, how do you share Jesus with the world?