Christ has many services
- Ministry is not just about ordained ministers
- All members of the Church have gifts and are called to share in its ministry
- This can be in the church community, but primarily happens in the wider world
- Presbyters and Deacons focus, express and enable the servant ministry of all the people of God
Ministry is primarily about the witness of the whole people of God in the world rather than about individuals undertaking particular roles in the church community. Ministry is never an individual endeavour but always exercised as part of the Body of Christ.
Every Christian has a special calling – a unique part to play in God’s mission. What are you being called to do as part of your Christian witness and service – in your everyday life and work or in the church? Might God be calling you to ordained ministry?
- Ministry in the church community
Nel Shallow – Presbyter in Grantham and Vale of Belvoir Methodist Circuit
The ministry of all Christians within the corporate life of the Church is also important. By their various gifts the members of the Church contribute to its life and witness. But for its work and well-being it also needs people to be available in different ways. Some are set apart to enable the whole Church to fulfil its calling, some undertake particular roles, and some are appointed to specific tasks at certain times.
With the exception of ordained ministers and Local Preachers, people who undertake ministries in or on behalf of the Methodist Church do so in a particular place and for a limited period of time. At the end of their period of service people carry forward their gifts, training and experience but may be called or needed to share in the ministry of the Church in other ways, in the Church and wider world. This is an important part of our understanding of the ministry of the whole people of God. Both individuals and churches discern how the gifts given by the Holy Spirit might be used to serve God’s mission.
Within the whole people of God some are set apart in ordination to represent God in Christ and the Church community in the world, and hold the world and the Church community in Christ before God. The Methodist Church has two orders of ministry: presbyters and deacons. Many aspects of their particular ministries are also normally exercised in a variety of ways by a large number of Christians, both in the world and in the church. The ministries of presbyters and deacons are representative, each distinctively focusing, expressing and enabling the servant ministry of the whole people of God.
- Ministry in the wider world
As Head of HR, I exercise a dual role – enabling others to exercise their leadership in a motivational, inspiring way whilst modelling what I try to instil in those I seek to lead.Janet Arthur – head of HR for a London housing association
As members of the Church we all share in its ministry. Whether or not our calling is recognized by some form of commissioning, we all share in the ministry to which the Church is called. We resource, support and encourage each other as we share in God’s mission in the world. All members of the Church participate in the ministry of Christ by proclaiming the kingdom of God in different ways at different times, in word and deed. For the sake of the ministry of the whole Body of Christ, all are equipped with gifts (Romans 12:3-8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-31).
Christians engage in witness and service in a variety of ways, in response to God’s call. For some this is through their paid employment or voluntary work, for others it is through their relationships and roles in their families or the communities of which they are a part.
Whoever we are, whether a child or someone living with dementia, a long-time Christian or someone new to the church or community, someone full of energy and new ideas or someone unsure of whether they have anything to offer, we can all contribute to and participate in the ministry of the whole people of God.