Eduction for the Ministry

 EfM: Linking Faith and Life

When you hear the words “Education for Ministry”, do you react by thinking to yourself -- “Ministry, what ministry? I'm not planning on becoming a minister, or priest, or preacher!”

But all of us are called to ministry - for in the most basic sense, ministry means to reveal the love of God in how we live each day. Ministry can take place anywhere - at your workplace, in your home among whanau and friends, in your community, in the wider world. Love is an action word - many people talk about love, but let's get out there and live the love of God! Every time you interact with someone it is a chance to do ministry - to show the love of God working through us!

But how do we show God's love to others? In so many ways - through acts of kindness and generosity, by really listening , by taking our focus off our own immediate desires to help meet the needs of other people. For ministry also means service. In his teaching and through his own example, Jesus helps us understand that God's people are called to lives of service. As Jesus said to his disciples:

“Whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve” (Mark 10: 43-45)

And Jesus gives practical examples of what he means by service:

“I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me... Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” (Matt. 25:35-36,40)

These words of Jesus are for all of us!

In addition to having an attitude of kindness and concern and a commitment to helping others in practical ways, our ministries can also take on more explicit and deliberate forms. Some find they can show God's love through becoming volunteers in community organizations, like food banks or homeless shelters. Others take on leadership roles at their place of worship. We all have a part to play in making real God's presence on earth.

I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for me?” And I said, “Here am I, send me!” And he said “Go” (Isaiah 6:8-9)

But accepting that we are all called to serve as ministers of the Good News of God's love, grace, and reconciliation is only the first step. What does it mean in practice? For many of us, we don't know how to put our faith into action.

Sometimes we aren't even sure of what we believe ourselves! We may lack the sort of understanding of Scripture, theological concepts, or Church history that is vital in grounding our beliefs and that will allow us to make them comprehensible to ourselves and to others. We struggle with moments of doubt, periods of despair or anger when God seems far away, and we may think this means our faith is weak, that we are out of favour with God, and that we therefore have nothing to offer in service. EfM helps us see things differently

God... has given us the ministry of reconciliation. (2 Cor. 5:18) Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them. (Romans 12:6)

Calling, Challenging, Life Changing - EfM Intrigued? Interested? Want to learn more? Read on!

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