Everyone serving in the various ministries of the Lord’s Church will agree that we are challenged by the so-called new normal in the church. Even though Covid-19 is becoming more and more endemic and restrictions on the church will hopefully be relaxed sooner rather than later, we struggle to even define what “normal” will entail during 2022.
It is not only the scars of restrictions that lead us to contemplate the way forward but let’s also remember that that the fault lines in society were laid bare by the concessions we had to make over the last 2 years. These societal weakness (from a Christian perspective) adds to the complexities added to our considerations on how to tackle this year.
Some of these perceptions within our increasing secular societies are:
The growing number of those who believe that participating in serving Christ the King is optional / unnecessary / a burden seems to be insurmountable.
Consumerism, hedonism and secularism are the roots of this huge challenge for ministers, elders and active members who already make a difference in the survival of the local church.
The demand for religious entertainment instead of true worship is another challenge and those in ministry giving in to this trend will find that they can never-ever be entertaining enough.
Smaller numbers at worship services and smaller membership rolls can never defer or defeat our sacred calling to share the good news of Christ with everyone.
Perhaps we too easily forget this calling of the church, or simply do not take the critical importance of godly ministry seriously enough.
Ministry is another word for service and to minister simply means to serve.
The Apostle Paul had a passion for ministry, because he knew that it meant submitting to God in order for the Lord to mightily use him for God’s purposes.
So we have to ask, do you see serving God for the sake of the church, as a calling? Do you have a passion for serving God?
If we want to make a difference in people’s lives, we need to become passionate about this service. If we long for God’s anointing on our work in the Church, for God’s multiple blessings on what we do and for “success” in divine terms, we need to know that God called us and that we are serving where and how God leads and wants.
And we must know that to be an instrument in God’s hand we have to be willing to pay the price of ministry.
Paul says: (Colossians 1:24-25) I rejoice in what was suffered for you... for the sake of the body of Christ, which is the church. I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness.
If we desire to be used by God, we have to know that it will involve humble sacrifice and modest servants of God where not the one who ministers, but Jesus Christ, is at the centre of our work for the Lord.
If we are going to follow Jesus in suffering for the sake of the Church, then we, like Jesus, have to be willing to pay the complete price required for our choice, and the price may include sacrifices of many kinds.
We have to know and believe that the church of the Lord works for a reason and purpose worth sacrificing for, even worth suffering for. That reason is the cause of Christ in the world.
If we desire a life that counts for something important and makes a lasting difference during trying times and in spite of the need for innovation and adaption, we will volunteer for duty:
We will step out in faith.
We will rediscover the biblical teaching on what ministry Biblically is and never compromise God’s standards.
We will be determined to live a life dedicated to serve God and to serve others.
Then we will make a difference in this world for our Lord and Redeemer. Our lives and ministries will count for a lot. It will touch, heal, teach and guide people to their grace-driven purpose.
We will not become victims of fashionable demands by selfish secularists and hedonists.
More importantly, it will bring glory to God’s Name in everything we do for the sake of the cause of Christ in the world. Even when we face the challenges of a secularized society when we enter the fight against back-sliding and compromise.
May 2022 become our opportunity to serve only Christ, teach only the Bible, seek true loving koinonia amongst members and seekers and proclaim justification only through faith and relying only on the grace of God.
Soli Deo Gloria!!