Theology of Ministry to Me, Essay

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This is where, as a Christian, the role of Jesus is important. Not only do I believe that all humans need to be in a relationship with Christ, I also believe they have the capability to either choose to be in that relationship or to reject Christ (John 3:16).

My view of the church is that the church is a group of people who have responded to God's gift of salvation and are growing their relationships with God. Ideally, the church should resemble Christ in work, study, and life. However, I also recognize that the church is made up of human beings, with all of the frailties and weaknesses that plague other human beings. The fact that they are members of a church does not take them outside of the realm of sinners, which is reflected in the condition of my current church, which does not always seem to be a community of Christ.

My view of education is that it is critical to a Christian, particularly a minister. Not only should the church strive to be a community of Christ, but Christians, particularly Christian leaders, should strive to be Christ-like. Christ was a teacher, and he lived the lessons that he taught. I think that his is a critical element for an educator. Discipleship is about more than theoretical instruction; it also involves modeling behavior. To me, this is made clear in Deuteronomy 6, which tells me that I need to keep God first in my heart in order to be an effective disciple.

I think that my responses above inform how I approach the practice of ministry. I believe that ministers teach by example, as well as by helping bring the Word of God to their congregation. In fact, I believe that even the most impassioned minister bringing the Word of God to people without living that word will fail to fully engage the people in a congregation.
It is not enough for me to tell people that they need to be charitable; I need to be charitable. It is not enough for me to tell people that they need to stop being judgmental; I need to work on approaching people without judgment.

I think that answering the question "what are people's needs?" is impossible as a blanket statement, as each person has a history that informs and shapes their needs. My congregation is an older African-American congregation that has proven very resistant to change. The surrounding community is diverse in terms of race, family structure, and economics, but the congregation has not attempted to engage the wider community. In my congregation, I see the young people floundering, and I see a need for discipleship for the children and youth, but none exists. I also see a need for smaller-scale ministry to adults; though there is a regular Bible Study, it is poorly attended. Perhaps the biggest need of the ministry is harmony; the congregation is historically conflicted, and, without resolving those conflicts, I think it will be difficult to move forward in the ministry.

The practice needed to meet those needs is to embrace a developmental approach to the congregation. At this point, the congregation is separate from the surrounding community. It has continued to adhere to old-fashioned racial and social class divisions, which no longer reflect the reality of society. My goal is to nourish interaction between the congregation and the outside community. While a hope is that this will bring more people and increased diversity into the congregation, the real goal is to give the church members to live their Christianity in their community, by engaging in active ministry through the community.


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