Why are we in ministry?
Why set a goal to be in full time ministry?
I have a cousin who is a full time youth minister. Everyday at lunch he would go to the YMCA and play basketball with the youth from the church and community. One day one of his sons came to him and said, “Dad, I want to grow up and be a minister like you.” This made my cousin feel good that his son wanted to follow in his footsteps. As my cousin pursued this a little by asking his son why he wanted to be in ministry when he grew up? His bubble was popped when his son replied, “so I can get paid to play basketball everyday like you.” I do not think this was the answer my cousin was looking for.
A lot of times we want to be in ministry because it looks like an easy occupation. Any one with a successful ministry knows that ministry is spelled W.O.R.K. A lot of times we want to be in ministry because our father and grandfather were in ministry before us, and we think we should follow in their footsteps. Some may think ministry looks glamorous from the outside. A lot of people see our ministry programs and say “Man I wish I could do this!” If they only had to walk in our shoes for a year the majority of them would want to quit. If all you see is our live ministry event it looks like a spectacular lifestyle. However, most people never see all the behind the scenes of the day to day lifestyle that being on the road consist of. A lot of young aspiring ministers that have gotten to travel with us as interns are very excited at first about getting to travel and use all of our equipment. At first their commits always are “Man when I get my own ministry I want equipment just like this.” About half way through the tour season the statements change to “I don’t think I want to do this when I have my own ministry. There is too much to set up and tear down. There is too much work involved. Too many hours spent traveling in a vehicle.“ If we do not have a genuine love for people and a desire to see the furtherance of the kingdom this lifestyle gets old real fast.
I believe we should ask ourselves periodically throughout our time in ministry why we are doing this. Over and over in the Bible we read that Jesus was moved with compassion when he ministered to people. When he healed the sick, when he raised the dead, when he multiplied the loaves and fishes to feed the multitude, and when he taught the crowds of people. The overwhelming love for people (compassion) was Jesus motivation to do what he did during his ministry on earth.
It was not that he felt it was his duty, it was not to make a name for himself, it was not that it was the only thing he knew how to do, it was because he looked at the need and was moved with compassion. Compassion was the overwhelming love for people that motivated him to do something. Why did God the father send his only son into the world to die on a cross? It was because he loved the world. He was moved with such an overwhelming love that he had to do something.
Our motivation in ministry should be the love God has put in our heart. The bible says in Romans 5:5 that the love of God has been put in our heart by the Holy Spirit. When we are born again we receive the life and nature of God. The Bible says in 1 John 4:8 that God is Love. It is his nature, His Character. When we are born again we are now born of God. His life and nature is inside of us.
1 John 4:7-11 7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
1 Pet 1:3 says God has given us all things that pertain to life and Godliness (Godliness means having God like qualities) it’s up to us to allow this love to be the motivating factor of our lives.
2 Peter 1:4 says that we have been given exceeding great and precious promises that through these we might become partakers of the divine nature. What is divine nature? 1 John 4:8 says that God is love. Where do we find these great and precious promises? We find it in the Word of God, the Bible.
As we renew our minds with God’s word it becomes part of our lives. The more it becomes part of our lives the more we become partakers of it.
The Bible says in Romans 12:2 be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind. Be transformed into what? We should be transformed into the Image of Christ.
Eph. 4:15 says that we should grow up until we look like Christ. What does Christ look like? He looks like the father and the father is Love. Let this overwhelming love for people be the motivating factor in our lives and ministry. We truly need to grow up until we look like Christ, so the world can see God in our lives. Let us be moved with compassion when we see a need.
Love for people and the furtherance of God’s Kingdom should be the motivating factor in our lives and ministry. I have always said true ministry is reaching people and touching Lives. Everything else is just stuff we have to do. Before I had my own ministry, before anyone knew who Jerry Moyer of the Jubilee Gang was, and before anyone wanted to schedule us at their church, I did not wait for a big break. I did not hope that someday my schedule would be full. I started going to the local housing projects in Southern Ohio because of the love in my heart for the people there. No one was reaching out to them and I saw a need. When I went to the local housing authority and asked if we could do a crusade in the projects, they told me that there had never been any preaching in the projects and there never would be.
I did not give up on what was in my heart to do. As I was reading the news paper one day, I saw where a professional baseball player had came back to our home town and started an anti drug program in the projects. I felt in my heart to go to that organization and tell them that the “Just say No” campaign was not working. Kids need something to say yes to so they can say no to drugs.
I offered to do an anti drug program for them that said “say yes to Jesus so that you can say no to drugs”. Anything to do with an anti drug message was welcome through this organization. Our first event in the local housing projects we saw around 100 people were born again. This happened over and over in different projects around the area. Before long the projects were calling us.
As I put my hand to ministering in the local housing projects because of the love I had for the people God continued to open more and more doors to our ministry. First it was public schools. We offered them a free anti drug program in exchange for the use of the building that evening for a large event where we could present the Gospel. Our first public school outreach we had 250 children in the school and 180 people came out that night to hear the gospel. Almost every one of them came forward to be born again. Then, we opened our program up to churches and it has grown from there.
Let love be the motivating factor in everything we do. God has given us everything we need. It’s up to us to use it!