To become an apostolic church, we need to get a new picture of what the church is suppose to be. We need to go from a pastoral model understanding of the church and grasp the new wine skin (really the original wineskin) or apostolic model of the Church. To make this switch we also need to get a new vision of our call as Christians. In other words, what it means to be a true believer and disciple of Jesus. We need to see ourselves differently. If you know Jesus you are not called to sit in church every Sunday morning and be a good church member until you die and go to heaven. You are called to serve and minister. The job of the Church is to build you up into a serious maturity and equip you with the supernatural tools and the knowledge of how to use those tools (gifts) to minister effectively to others – saved and unsaved.
Every member is a minister. I have been teaching that since I was first saved back in 1976. But, it is a hard sell because the pastoral model of the church sees a minister as a paid, well educated, professional who is ordained and thus anointed for the task of ministering. We need to reprogram our brains and begin to think biblically and not religiously or traditionally.
We have always assumed that we are the congregation and the pastor is the minister. Some of us picture a minister as someone who wears “religious-looking” clothing, stands behind a pulpit and preaches sermons.
So, what does it mean for every Christian to minister? Do we all need to wear religious-looking clothing? Do we all need to learn to preach and stand behind a pulpit? Of course not! Ministry is simply doing the works of Jesus. Ministry is doing “the stuff” that Jesus did. It is bringing salvation, healing, deliverance, and encouragement to the people around us.
Let me differentiate between ministry and maintenance. Ministry is, as far as I can see biblically, touching the lives of those who do not know Jesus and helping them to take a step towards Jesus and salvation. Ministry as it is seen in most churches, is really simply caring for those who are already believers. I see that as maintenance, not ministry.
Jesus described His ministry – and thus our ministry – as…
Isaiah 61:1-3 “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion— to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.” (see also: Luke 4:18-19)
This is what we are to do towards non-believers. Believers have already received and experienced this freedom as they became “new creatures in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:17). So, ministry is for those outside of the Kingdom who have yet to discover and receive God’s favour through salvation.
Let’s summarize it this way: Ministry is finding those who don’t know Jesus and who are being oppressed by the enemy and bringing them into the Kingdom and thus the blessings of God. If they are lost, you bring them salvation. If they are in bondage, you bring them deliverance. If they are weak, you bring them strength. If they are hopeless, you release vision and faith. If they are in lack, you show them how to walk in God’s abundance. If they are sick, you bring them healing. God has called you to do all of these things.
God wants all of us to minister to the lost. In the church we maintain the flock and equip, train, and mentor the sheep to minister more effectively and supernaturally. Currently we ‘minister’ to one another and almost totally ignore those who don’t know Jesus – the least, the last, the lost. Not biblical in the least.
So, there are two major changes we need to grab hold of. The first, we are all ministers – not just the person in the robes upfront who preaches on Sunday. And, secondly, that what we do inside the church is almost totally maintenance. Ministry takes place outside the assembly seven days a week as we live life and its focus is the lost.
God wants all of us to minister. That is what they understood in the Early Church. Notice how the New Testament describes the members of the Early Church:
Acts 8:4 – “they went out and preached”
Mark 16:17-18 “all can heal and deliver”
John 14:12 – “all can do miracles”
1 Corinthians 14:31, 39 – “all can prophesy”
Hebrews 5:12 – “all should be teaching”
If you are a true born again believers, God has called you to minister.