The philosophy of Christian Ministry
When we think in terms of ministry, what comes to mind? Missions to other countries? Childrens ministry? Youth ministry. Do you immediately think of the Great Commission?
The word philosophy is used here in the sense of a formulated system or belief regarding the ministry of the local church.
The word “philosophy” is derived from two Greek words:
a) Phileo meaning “love” or “friendship”
b) Sophia meaning “wisdom”
The main reason for ministry is to equip the saints, assist in helping believers find what their gifts are an apply them, bring glory to Christ an increase the kingdom of God. Ministries devoted to this commission enrich, and unify the church; and are an outreach to people who are in need of Christ.
Where do we start?
Reformed believers hold fast to the word of God, i.e. sola Scriptura. Based upon this idea, our philosophy of ministry is not some random thing. It is solely based on what Gods word alone.
Having said that, let us see what passages are used to bring us to out conclusion on this subject.
“16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them. 17 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted.
18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go thereforen and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.o”
So, at the basis of our philosophy here at FPC is the GC; We pursue preaching the gospel and making disciples. First Presbyterian Church is an Intentional Missionary Congregation. We take seriously the mandates of our Lord as He instructs us to make every effort to reach the lost.
We carry out these mandates in several ways:
1. Bible Teaching and Preaching.
We desire people to come to Christ, both our neighbors and people scattered across the face of the globe. To this end we put the local and global mission of the church at the heart of our teaching and preaching.
2. A Robust Missionary Family.
As we look for people from our congregation as well as others, we are gratified that the Lord has led us to such gifted men and women over the years. We give first priority both in personnel and in finances to those engaged in evangelistic work and church planting. Our second priority includes those whose major ministry is primarily teaching in schools of various kinds. Our third priority is to send and support people in service and administrative posts, knowing that these too fulfill an essential place in the missionary endeavor.
3. Short-term Mission Trips.
Each year the church sends groups of its members to minister to others in this or in other countries, through children’s ministry, medical assistance and building construction. The purpose of these trips is not simply to bring aid and assistance, but especially to provide the opportunity for our own people to grow in grace and understanding as they observe what God is doing in other parts of the world.
4. Limited Partnerships.
Our more recent direction has been to enter into partnerships with newly formed church plants in other countries. We help to finance them, pray for them, partner with them in their growing years until they become self-sufficient. At present, we have entered into such a partnership with the Cumbres del Rey church plant, located in Monterrey, Mexico.
5. Mission Conference.
Each year, usually in the fall season, an entire week is given to the cause of missions. Special speakers are invited to address the congregation in a variety of settings. These speakers, many of them our Missionary Associates, lead our worship services, speak in our Sunday School classes, our Wednesday night dinner, home groups, and Coral Springs Christian Academy classes. This week is one of the highlights in the church calendar.
6. Mission Financing.
This church finances its missionary outreach through two major sources; Mission Faith Promise giving and a percentage of the church general income. On the final Sunday of our annual mission conference, church members are given the opportunity to make a faith promise commitment. This is a promise by faith, as God provides, over and above their regular tithe to give for the cause of the church’s mission.
Internal vs external
This mission affects us locally here in our own congregation as well as to all parts of the globe.
Locally: We have this Sunday School class as well as others. We have our Christmas program and outreach to needy Children. Youth ministry. Yard sales. Music Ministry. We have a benevolence ministry. We have Mens fellowship groups as well as small groups all over the county. Seniors ministry. We have counseling sessions if need be. The ESL ministry and Pastor Pablo and our Hispanic congregation. Many local things where many people are involved serving as well as benefiting from.
Externally: We have missionaries in all parts of the Globe that we support prayerfully as well as financially. For instance, we have missionaries in Asia, Europe, Eastern Europe, Haiti, Latin America, Puerto Rico and Canada.
1) The Bible is the base of this triangle-all is based on Gods word. Sola Scriptura!
2 Tim 3:16
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
And athey devoted themselves to the apostles’ bteaching and the cfellowship, to dthe breaking of bread and the prayers.
2) Worship is at the top because that is what we do with our ministry-it is a form of worship to God. We will discuss Worship next week!
1 Peter 2:9
But you are za chosen race, aa royal bpriesthood, ca holy nation, da people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you eout of darkness into fhis marvelous light.
But bthe hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father cin spirit and dtruth, for the Father eis seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.
3) Evangelism is central to missions-the great commission. Are you involved and how?
2 Tim 4:5
As for you, qalways be sober-minded, rendure suffering, do the work of san evangelist, tfulfill your ministry.
And bSaul capproved of his execution.
And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and dthey were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. 2 Devout men buried Stephen and made great lamentation over him. 3 But eSaul was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he fdragged off men and women and committed them to prison.
4) Education; remember our earlier studies on Knowledge-men cannot believe in a person they know nothing about-there are so many things to be taught and learned; look at us every week pursuing lofty subjects. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge.
About this we have much to say, and it is chard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again dthe basic principles of the oracles of God. You need emilk, not solid food, 13 for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is fa child. 14 But solid food is for gthe mature, for those who have their powers hof discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.
Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.
5) Empathy: How does empathy affect ministry? Wasn’t Jesus empathetic with our weaknesses? Did He not acknoweldge our dusty frames?
1 Now in these days kwhen the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists1 arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in lthe daily distribution. 2 And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. 3 mTherefore, brothers,1 pick out from among you seven men nof good repute, ofull of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. 4 But pwe will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” 5 And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, qa man full of faith and rof the Holy Spirit, and sPhilip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, ta proselyte of Antioch. 6 These they set before the apostles, and uthey prayed and vlaid their hands on them.
7 And wthe word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests xbecame obedient to ythe faith.
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: sto visit torphans and widows in their affliction, and uto keep oneself vunstained from the world.
When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, jthen he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him kwill be gathered lall the nations, and mhe will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates nthe sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then othe King will say to pthose on his right, ‘Come, you qwho are blessed by my Father, rinherit sthe kingdom tprepared for you ufrom the foundation of the world. 35 For vI was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you wgave me drink, xI was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 vI was naked and you clothed me, yI was sick and you zvisited me, aI was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And bthe King will answer them, c‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these dmy brothers,1 you did it to me.’