Following in Christ's footsteps of ministry first means receiving the benefits of ministry ourselves.
The life of Christ, from the beginning, through his life on earth, up until now, and through eternity, provides inspiration that has the potential to lead us towards effective influence in the world around us. While he was with us, he layered multiple modes of ministry and service into one singular focus of drawing people closer to God. We are discipled by Christ himself as we set out to serve him. Are we receiving inspiration from God along our way? Are we in tune to his guidance?
Receiving discipleship and service from others also provides us with much needed strength and wisdom. As Christians, we can forget that we need to be the recipients of input as well. In God's orchestration, are we receiving discipleship, influence from our churches, wisdom in prayer? Are we ready and open to hearing what God might say to us through those around us? In our need, who is available to help us?
As we receive, so we give. If we desire to see our lives impact the health of our community physically, emotionally, and spiritually, an observation of Christ's ministry gives us a handy pile of tools to help make that happen. Sometimes we look out over our personal lives, in our businesses, or in our organizations, and wonder why we are not seeing lives renewed for Christ. If we line up his ministry alongside our lives, it can help us see what changes need to be made to take us to a better place and make us more effective.
Observing the framework of Christ's ministry can make us more effective leaders in faith.
Discipleship Meant Being in the Game Together
Has the church minimized discipleship to a weekly coffee date? I feel like it may have. Christ's discipleship was very different. It included daily interaction and complete integration into his work. Who he chose and what he did give us so much insight into how he was able to raise up day laborers into a force that awakened the early church.
Who are you being discipled by?
How are you being discipled by Christ?
What do you have to offer those around you?
Are you ready to step out in ministry and call others to as well, or do you feel a need to learn from and be trained by others?
Who has God given you who needs what you have?
He Participated Fully in the Temple
The Temple was the religious institution of Jesus' day, and he didn't shy away from it. Christians organize around the church, but some are disillusioned with organized religion. A judgmental glance here, not enough help there. These things can discourage us from participation in a larger body. But corporate worship is powerful. Meeting with others who are specifically seeking God is critical to our spiritual health. Wrestling through issues of ministry is an important route to effecting change in the world.
What is Church?
Why participate in church?
Select a healthy organization
His Quiet Place to Pray Brought Big Answers
Jesus said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise." (John 5:19) The prayers of Jesus must have included much more listening than we're accustomed to. As a church, are we proclaiming our own visions, or are we keeping an open ear to God's call as we move forward? What about at the office, or around our neighbors? Are we busy crying out for our own needs, or are we willing to trust him for our needs and follow his call forward into ministry for others?
Consider an area you're struggling in and ask, "What would you like me to do here?" and wait and listen. God's answer may come immediately, or you may receive wisdom later through reading His Word or talking with someone. Keep your ears open.
Jesus Performed Acts of Service, Revealing God's Purposes in a Personal Way as He Went
I've seen the church divided into two camps. Those who evangelize, and those who perform acts of service and social justice. But the most effective ministries do both. As Jesus healed and provided for peoples' needs, he was actively aware of how God was working in a very personal way. He didn't have a Christian speech at the ready, he was attentive to the needs of each individual, both physically and spiritually. If we're attentive to what God is doing, any act of service that we do can bring revelatory change to the world.
We are servants of all. Some service is glamorous and some is not. God sees your work and can add life to what you do. If you feel inspired to speak along your way, don't be afraid to share what's on your mind.
He Spoke on the Mountaintops to Thousands of People
Society was deeply divided politically in the time of Christ. There were people with very specific agendas. But Jesus did not spend the majority of his time reacting to specific issues. If he had, he'd have been pigeonholed by his opinion on hot-button topics. When Jesus had an audience of thousands, he went back to the basics: Who God is, personal responsibility to love our neighbors, marital wholeness, and God's invested care of each person's wellbeing. These foundational educations may sound naive, but they are the foundation of change in a society. As Christians, we need to speak up. Not arguing this platform or the other, but proactively inserting ourselves into our culture and training the public in the basics of love, life, and God.