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Towards a transformative ministry – Part 3

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Etim Ekong


Christian Ministry should take into consideration what is going on in our society today. There are pressing issues facing humanity today that need the Church’s attention. And unless the Church knows what befalls people around her, she cannot properly perform her duty. For effective God’s mission, the Church should be able to discern the signs of the times. “Even though the content of Ministry seems to prioritise the ministering in spiritual things, we should note that ministry can and should include, ministering to the people’s physical, emotional, mental, vocational and financial needs.”

Ministry should, therefore, be more holistic in concept. Holistic ministry is inclusive ministry, presenting the gospel for the benefit of all, irrespective of the status in society. Holistic ministry is the embodiment of word and deed, since the good news of Jesus Christ is “salvation for the whole person.” If what we do, regardless of our vocation, glorifies God and influences other people, we can see this as ministry. This goes further to show that ministry should not only be seen as the work done by Evangelists, Pastors, Bishops or anybody charged with missionary work. It should also be seen as a means of partnering with the Holy Spirit to transform individuals, communities and organisations, as they embrace the emerging kingship of God. The word, ‘transformation’ should be for the whole person, and should include the body, mind, spirit and soul.

The type of ministry in our discussion should focus not only on evangelism, but also on reconciliation and social concern, with element of justice and compassion. This model of ministry will bring about constructive change and transforms, the thinking and emotional well-being of ordinary man and woman. It will also help the Church to contribute positively to the sociopolitical structures, thereby helping humanity to explore its whole existence and social relationships.

Before discussing each aspect of Christian Ministry, it is pertinent to reflect on Jesus’ Ministry. As Don Stewart points out, Jesus’ Ministry has three aspects, namely, Prophet, Priest and King. Jesus functioned as a Prophet during His first coming. He represented the Father in the midst of His people. He will reign as King in His second coming. He functions as a priest presently. Hastings (1963:797) commenting on Christ’s priesthood shows that “the distinctive order of Christ’ priesthood is found in His nature, above all in the fact that He is a Priest forever.” Christ is seen as a High Priest performing the same kind of priestly function as was discharged by the high priest of the house of Aaron, that is ‘mediation, intercession and cleansing, which is the removal of sin and guilt.’

Christ’s Ministry is, therefore, a ministry of atonement and reconciliation with God (Hebrews 9:14-16). It is important to note that it was by His life on earth, by the obedience He learned and the human sympathy He gained, that Christ was qualified to be a High Priest for all.

Christ pleads the case of believers before God the father. He is the Mediator, the go-between (1 Timothy 2:5-6; cf. Hebrews 9:24). When we sin, we need someone to plead the case to the Father on our behalf. We cannot do it ourselves. This is what Christ does for us (1 John 2:1-2).

The Church is a priestly institution, and Christians are themselves priests (1 Peter 2:9). Through Christian Ministry, the Church has a duty to let the world know that “it is only through Christ that we can have our eschatological hope” (Rev. 11:15).
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Etim Ekong
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