Does Your Ministry Ever Leave The Church Building?

Preachers. I have a very important question for you. Does your ministry ever leave the church building?

You know many times we church folks act as though we have done our duty when we sit in a congregation and listen to a preacher preach or a choir sing. We may participate. We may sing heartily. We may even get a chance to preach to the people of God. But then we go home. And what happens at home? A plethora of television, sports, games, fun, and just life. We live our lives. And we should live our life, but has church made a difference? Does it affect our lives in any meaningful way? And more specifically, does it make a difference in how we relate to the hurting one?

Many of us say we are called to the ministry, but do we mean that we are called to preach? Some don’t necessarily provide any real ministry in their daily lives. Some are just as mean as everyone else at the WalMart when the line is slow. Some are just as ruthless as anyone else at work when they are trying to get the promotion. Some are just as heartless by making fun of the one who is different as any one else. And yet we are in ministry.

The other day, I had the opportunity to talk to a man who was just being ordained to the ministry. He was excited about the opportunity. I agree that it is a good thing to have your community to recognize and affirm your call to ministry. There is a two phase call to ministry. We are called individually by God, but that call is also recognized by a community. At any rate, I affirmed the excitement that comes from this recognition.

But I also encouraged my brother to recognize that the call to ministry is an all encompassing call. It affects all you do. You may not get that church, but it doesn’t free you from the call and its responsibilities. Even if you end up flipping burgers at a burger shack, you still have that call that changes the way you relate and live in the world.

Too often we just limit our ministry to the church. And when we do that we harm the kingdom in a number of ways. When we limit ministry to the church, we tend to fight over the few opportunities to “to do ministry.” Often this “ministry” is nothing but simply being in front. Reading the scripture during the worship hour is important, but what does it profit to do that while no one knows you are a minister at your daily life? Preaching powerfully can be a very important thing, but what good is it if the preaching of your life is the very oppositie of what you say?

When we limit ministry to the church, we end up fighting over meaningless drivel. My brother told me once that the line to genuinely help people is always short. If you want to make a difference, help somebody. That is the essence of ministry.

Preaching is important and I would encourage you to continue to get better at it. But let us not forget that we are called to “ministry” and not just to “preaching.” If you visited me when I was sick and you helped my cousin who was in jail and you prayed for me when my momma died, then your sermons will mean a lot more to me than someone who has 10K members that he can never see.

Christ decided to come into the world and live among us. And touch us, not as a king sitting on a throne, but as a little child. And Jesus changed the world by being among us. If we are to turn the world upside down as has been done in the past, then we must be in the world. (Acts 17:6) As a “minister” God expects us to be on the front lines and not simply pass those assignments to others while we pontificate from a separated pulpit.

Comments

comments

Sherman Haywood Cox II is the director of Soul Preaching. He holds the M.Div with an emphasis in Homiletics and a M.S. in Computer Science.

Posted in blog, Ministry
12 comments on “Does Your Ministry Ever Leave The Church Building?
  1. rev. jones says:

    I agree we must take ministry outside the four walls of our church.

  2. Rev. David C. Lannan says:

    That is good information for the congregation, too. Pastors are called to equip the saints, not do all the ministry. Unfortunately, many think “that’s what we pay you for” so they have no interest in “being the church.” How quickly our Lord’s kingdom might grow if bi-vocational ministers and the congregation at large would bring a Christ-like attitude and love into the workplace, the schools, the supermarket, etc.

  3. I moved to preaching out of the pulpit to de-stress in my ministry and I started to be blessed in the overflow in mind body and spirit. I became an Amazing Grace gift to myself and able to help others as I go out to do “Good News

  4. Johnnie Freeman says:

    This spiritual insight was God-sent. I really needed it. Thank you for sharing!

  5. Valerie Robinson says:

    Minster Valerie Robinson,
    After reading the article, there is much validity in its message. The Ministry does not start or stop ,just in the Church Pulpit or within its walls. When we bear the title or say that we are Christian, then Christianity ,means and implies having and living the very Christ-like nature and attributes which Jesus Christ shown.which reflected God. We go to church every sunday but do we worship God daily in our lives? we do not have to convenience someone that we are in Christ,it will come out when we speak, how we can not forgive when been hurt and how we treat one another,even the stranger? Must be dressed in Christ every second, every minute and everyday and not just on Sunday morning. Too many believers leave our Christ-ianity at the door steps and then pick it up on Sunday mornings.

  6. We must realize most of the hurting people is not always coming in the church but in our communities. And sometimes under our noses in some of our own homes. Also being an example by livivng the word that we preach everyday. Just imagine if all preachers accross the world would do this with God’s power will turn this whole world completely around. God Bless All.

  7. edward sack says:

    Mr. Sherman Cox,
    I absolutely agree that we must bring the preaching to the streets. Having the boldness to do that is something I must work on more. I enjoy reading your website because it brings out some good points I would not have thought about. As far as I’m concerned preaching is about winning souls to Jesus Christ. Whether your the one dropping a seed into someone’s spirit or your the one that actually delivers the salvation prayer to that lost soul does not mater. As long as the person is saved.

  8. Rev. Curtis L. Williams says:

    Very good points in the article. I attend and am an associate at a church in Chicago. Our Pastor has led us in two sucessful years when we say “Let the Church Be the Church!” On Sunday 5-Aug-2012, we had and accelerated service with full communion, baptism, praise and preaching all by 11:45 am. Afterwards, the members of the church evangelized the community, did hospital and home visits, fed and gave water to those walking in the neighborhood. This kind of work takes the limits off the church and extends real life ministry.

  9. Bishop Wendell L. Jackson, M.Div. says:

    I have come to believe that whereever I happen to be; on my job; Walmart on a street corner; etc., I am to do ministry. I am to touch people’s lives in a meaningful way whereever I happen to be at any and all times. Being in the pulpit is miniscule to the number of ministry opportunities we have from day to day. The world is truly my parish. The moments I am spending writing this response to the article is a ministry opportunity; it’s no telling who will read it and how it will impact their lives. Jesus did his ministry as He was going; the only time I recall him in a pulpit settting….. He was a boy reading from the scroll of Isaiah. Feeding the hungry, healing the sick, clothing the naked, visiting prisons, raising the dead can’t be accomplished inside a building, in the pulpit a couple of times a week. There are people living on the street, in homeless shelters, living under bridges, pan handling on street corners, wasting away in nursing homes, languishing in prisons and jails; even some right next door or in our immediate families that need a ministry that only we as individuals have. All contact with another human being is a ministry moment; listening intently and empathetically is one of the greatest ministries one can offer; yet many clergy are great speakers and poor listeners. In conclusion when I was in seminary my mom died. I was surrounded by preachers, even the pastor in whom I was her associate; wouldn’t allow me a few minutes just to talk about the loss of my mother. That was a ministry opportunity for several preachers that they missed. That was an opportunity to extend the ministry of grace; I looked past their fault and saw their needs; and I didn’t charge them for being insensitive to my situation. Those who limit their ministry work to what they do in the pulpit; are not following the example of Jesus Christ. Be blessed……

  10. Rev T. Shelton says:

    One of the better posts I’ve read in a while. You are right on point. I listened to a preacher at a revival last night paralleling these views. We are to serve, not only in the church, but even moreso in the world. We cannot fix ANYTHING if we don’t want to see where it’s broken.

  11. Minister Jaki says:

    This is something that has been on my heart for several years now. The “church” is not the four walls we worship within. There is a hurting, dying world beyond the four walls of the church building; and we must show the love of Christ in order to reach them. Thank you for this article.

  12. Minister Samuel Andrews says:

    Greetings fellow suffers of the Gospel,

    Scripture tells us with the help of 1Cor 13:11 that until we get past that FIRST when in the verse, we will continue to conduct ourselves as children. Matt 22:14 reminds us that many are called! But few are chosen. This is an indictment against those who are called and an invitation to those who are chosen. To hear and answer the call of God, requires one to be fully persuaded to walk the green mile freely and voluntarily ( a term I use to imply capital punishment as was expedited by our Lord and Savior, on His walk to Calvary’s cross). Or as the apostle Paul would say with the help of Romans 12:1. Or in Layman’s term “to get bacon from a pig, you have to have the commitment of a pig….and DIE”. Die to self will and all personal agendas..set aside the rudiments of this world and the philosphy of men. I hear Mark 8:34 saying after you have fulfilled this invitation, you will be fit for the masters use. Personally I bring it home Bro. Cox because home is where you are seen by those who are closest to you or those who see you in ways that no else do. I called on my family to help me grow and develop into the person that scripture say that I am. At home we monitor “our” behavior and we know even when it doesn’t t feel right…what our loved ones bring to each others attention, requires consideration and then, modification in our character..You see at home, we already know that we all love God, have each others best interest at heart and that God created the family before he created the church ( in the natural realm). This my brothers and sisters allows us to go out into the world, put the irresistible character of Christ on display and continue His ministry in Excellence. I intentionally just post scripture reference to prompt reading….and interaction with the Master.

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