Jim and Jan met in college and got married after graduation. They had a couple of kids and eventually were introduced to a growing church in their community through some friends they met through their kids soccer team. Neither Jim nor Jan grew up in church but they were beginning to grow more curious about it and knew they wanted to raise their kids with strong values. After attending their friend’s church for a while they grew to understand the meaning of a personal relationship with Christ and both of them eventually accepted Christ and began to grow as new Christians. It wasn’t long before they were introduced to the concept of “ministry involvement.” People would ask, “Have you found a ministry yet in the church? What ministries are you guys interested in here at the church? Hey, you guys know that we need lots of help here in several ministries at the church!” So they went on a quest to learn about all the “ministry needs” in the church and picked one.
Fast forward a few years and catch up with Jim and Jan… the faithful church attending Christian couple who have been integrated into the church for several years now. They have a nice home in a safe neighborhood, they have some good friends with kids the same age as their own with similar values, and they have faithfully served in various ministries in the church. But something seems to be missing. They have created a safe haven for themselves and their family but they sometimes just feel so worn out running back and forth doing so many things at church in the name of ministry. And there’s another problem… they long to be connected to something meaningful. They can’t put their finger on it but there is an unrest and they dream of being able to do something that would be impactful, something that would be life-changing, something that feels really fulfilling and looks like things they read about in the Bible.
Sound familiar? Now, I’m not knocking the genuine needs for workers to function in many ministries within the church. I’ve been in full-time ministry myself since way back in the late 80’s. After all, I did a quick web search and found a long list of ministries listed on a few church websites. Each one of these ministries need workers.
Here are a few ministry opportunities that were listed on just a few church websites…
Welcome ministry, Worship ministry, Children’s ministry, Youth ministry, Usher ministry, Greeter ministry, Cleaning the church ministry, Set up crew ministry, Men’s ministry, Women’s ministry, Prayer ministry, Bus ministry, Kitchen team ministry, Counting the money ministry, Grounds crew ministry, Visitation ministry, Sunday school teacher/helper ministry, Nursery ministry, Deacon ministry, Choir, Orchestra, Singles ministry, Couples ministry, Senior saints ministry, College ministry, Small group ministry… well, you get the picture.
Here’s a thought, “What would happen if every Christian found a way to to have DEEP MINISTRY IMPACT in their community while still meeting the needs of their local church?” I don’t think it is an issue of serving in the church OR serving in the community… I think we need to make room for both.
Most of my readers know that I spent about two decades in church youth ministry and a few years ago God led me to begin a youth outreach ministry to unchurched youth. If you aren’t familiar with the story about how God redirected my ministry you can listen to an interview I did with Wayne Shepherd here http://kenturnerministries.org/radio-interview-first-person-wayne-shepherd/ on Moody Radio or read more about it here. http://kenturnerministries.org/a-window-into-juvenile-detention-ministry/
Here are a few rewards I have experienced by opening up to ministry outside the church:
- My Christian Life Has Been Rejuvenated. Ephesians 2:5 mentions how we are “quickened” or made alive as a result of our salvation. By ministering to those who don’t know Christ, I find great excitement in talking to them about who He is and how He has changed my life.
- There’s Not A Lot Of Competition. You will notice an unusual phenomenon in the church… sometimes several Christians are competing for ministry opportunities. “When will I get asked to sing, teach, lead, chair a committee, serve as a deacon, plan an important event…” Sometimes these thoughts literally steel all the joy from our Christian life! But there are so many needs outside the church and there’s room for many more people to connect and serve.
- It Feels Like I’m Doing What Jesus Was Talking About. James 1:27 says it plainly that pure religion, or could we say authentic faith, looks more like this… visiting the fatherless and widows in their time of need and keeping ourselves unstained from the world. There’s something very rewarding about knowing we are lined up with Jesus priorities of ministry.
- It Brings New Purpose To My Spiritual Growth. When you are talking with people regularly who don’t know much if anything about God or His word you are forced to answer their questions. Questions like, “If God really loves me then why is this happening in my life? If He is really real then how do you explain this? Can you tell me what God is really like? How has He changed your life? Why do you believe in Him?” Now, don’t let the questions scare you… I’ve found people really want honest answers but they don’t expect us to have ALL the answers all figured out. They just want honesty in a Christian friend who really cares about them.
- It Makes Service Within The Church More Meaningful. I promise you that you will sing with more joy in the church choir, you will bring greater enthusiasm to your role as a greeter, you will greet all your duties within the church with more heart if you are serving Him outside the church in a meaningful ministry.
Give me your feedback. What have been some of your greatest experiences in finding fulfilling ways to do ministry for the Lord? I’d enjoy your feedback in the comments section of this article. Like and share it to invite others into the conversation!