The question Jesus asked his group of disciples, “Who do you say I am?”, is one he continues to ask each of us, but also, the collective us.
As we transition from spring to summer, from masks to no-masks, from pandemic protocols to pre-pandemic protocols, we must ask the question once again: who do we say Jesus is? The entirety of our lives, of our ministry, of our church depends on how we answer that question.
The church exists to make disciples, and disciples exist for the sake of the world. Disciples don’t exist to make the church bigger. Rather, disciples are forced to answer the question, “Is my church forming people to live like Jesus?” As we have discussed in previous posts, the role of the church is the same as our own lives: to follow Jesus and to help others follow Jesus.
So the question is, as the world opens up, what kind of ministry are we, and what kind of ministry do we want to become? Mark Laberton outlines several types of ministries:
- The Self Absorbed: the ministry is exclusive, self-enclosed, cliquey
- The Invisible: functionally a non-factor in the world. Culturally, emotionally and socially absent and irrelevant
- Oppressive: Imposing hostile and cruel ordinances on others and prefers being mean and correct to loving and relational
- Siloed: it’s no secret that one of the most segregated times of the week, across many demographics is Sunday morning
- Bad News: one of condemnation, harsh critique and “fire and brimstone”
Can we, as a ministry, move from being an ecclesiastical-industrial complex to the tangible hands and feet of Jesus? Are we committed to loving the forgotten, the unseen, the undesirable, the uncool, and can we do so in unexpected, creative, counter-intuitive ways filled with compassion, tenderness, and care?
We know two facts as we address these questions. The first is that any change in the ministry or in the church begins with me (and you). It is the well-known line from Gandhi about “being the change you wish to see.” The second truth is that the church, and the ministry belongs to Jesus and he is with us as we go about his work and business.