Salt and Light
13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
There would seem to be a misunderstanding of this concept and a misinterpretation of the "capacity," of ministry; so let us clarify these things. Pastor-ship, Priesthood, and/or ordained leadership within the confines of a church setting may be a form of ministry; but they are not the same thing. While there is a certain amount of accreditation, qualification, training, and denomination-specific protocol necessary to fill an official leadership role within the Body; these things aren't required for ministry in and of itself.
Every Christian believer is called, commanded and empowered for ministry by Christ and through the power of the Holy Spirit. This is why Jesus said,"You are the salt of the earth," and "You are the light of the world." We are all called to be "ministers of salt and light," "ministers of grace, peace, love, mercy and forgiveness," and "ministers of the Gospel and message of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior." The idea that a person must meet a set of pre-qualifying standards or precluding factors for ministry is a false and deceptive ideology; often presented by those who seek to keep themselves elevated in a position of power and authority over others. Yet Jesus Himself said not to "Lord over each other, but rather seek to serve one another in humility," as He Himself came not to be served; but to serve.
Also, many of us tend to view ministry in a very limiting manner; thinking that ministry itself must be evidenced by a church-type body, a specific format, a specific individualized approach, etc. However, a ministry isn't defined by its appearance or structure; but by its message, intention and goals.
One can minister simply by being loving, gracious, peaceful, compassionate, kind, forgiving, patient, etc. One can minister through outward acts like feeding the hungry, clothing the poor, providing shelter for the homeless, visiting the sick/imprisoned, etc. One can minister by creating educational and/or Christ-based resource materials,(IE, bible study outlines, scriptural footnotes, articles/books on Christian concepts, etc.)One can minister by composing worship music, videos, online recordings, etc. One can minister by offering counseling, advice, guidance, etc. One can minister by volunteering in local events, services, functions, etc. One can minister by offering free/low-cost child care, transportation for disabled, professional services at a discounted or cost-free rate. In the end, the options are virtually unlimited for believers to minister within the confines of their church and local community. The critical element is not so much what one does; but the passion and intention with which one does these things. As long as Christ is the foundation, the act is driven in a spirit of love, grace and integrity, and the intention is pure; these are all that are necessary for scripturally sanctioned ministry.
(**NOTE**: I would add some pre-qualifying factors here, though THEY ARE NOT REQUIRED; they are definitely instrumental in improving the potential for a good return on the ministry efforts. Without these items one may find ministry a very hard, mostly fruitless, and uphill battle.
1). "15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth." 2 Timothy 2:15
Be sure you have a sufficient knowledge of scripture; what it says and how to properly apply it. This will be, by far, your greatest asset in any form of ministry. It is far easier to speak Word of life into the lives of others, and proclaim God's promises/truths when one has them committed to memory. Otherwise you may find yourself ill-equipped when situations arise and you don't have a bible handy.
2). Philippians 4:6-9(NIV) "6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you."
Be sure you have a strong prayer life; this will be a great catalyst to success and fruitfulness in ministry. It will not only invoke the favor, providence, and direction of God; but will grant you a level of peace and confidence in your ministry efforts-regardless of apparent results or lack thereof.
3). 2 Corinthians 4:7(NIV) "7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us." Be sure to keep in perspective that any return on investment or fruitfulness of the ministry effort is a thing given of God; that our empowerment comes by way of the holy Spirit, not from ourselves. If we rely solely on our own abilities and traits, we will find a very minimal return as opposed to relying on God to do the miraculous!
These are just a few basic principles to keep in mind. May Father grant you clarity in these matters. Thanks and God Bless!