We Are All Called to the Ministry!
Words really do matter. Inadequate translations and deficient understandings of what certain New Testament words mean can be very detrimental. For example, as we have spoken of on several occasions there are different words for “time” in the New Testament. Chronos means time in general or chronological time; kairos means strategic or opportune time, sometimes an appointed time; horaios means the right time, the now time. Obviously not understanding the meaning of these different words can be harmful. Though the word “time” is sometimes used to translate all of them, this should not be.
In other contexts, the church sometimes interprets and attributes meaning to a word that should not be given it. These interpretations often become very prevalent and widely accepted. The word “church” is a good example. Though used to depict a building where we worship or a religious service, this should never have occurred. The Greek word ekklesia means a legislature. Jesus said in Matthew 16 He would build His “government” on earth.
Two other words we misuse, and my purpose for this post, are “ministry/minister” and “calling.” The word in the New Testament for minister (diakonos) simply means “a servant,” NOT a preacher or religious leader. The misuse of this word has brought great confusion. It is now believed that a religious leader is a minister, while those in the pews are servants or lay people. In God’s mind, all believers are ministers. The same word used to describe the apostles “serving” the Word was used to describe the deacons who “served” food (Acts 6:1-6).
The words “calling” or “called” (klesis) in the New Testament simply mean “vocation.” My calling is to write, travel and teach; yours may be to build homes or be a full-time mom. But in God’s mind, we are all “called” to “ministry” (2 Timothy 1:9). This levels the playing field, dignifies all callings/vocations, and brings to light the importance we all have in the Kingdom. The Ekklesia is called to minister for God, regardless of the vocation He purposes for us. The church is everywhere, not just in a building. And we are all anointed by Him to do the work of the Kingdom, everywhere.
This is the impetus of the recent movement some have termed “marketplace ministry.” It is a great phrase. An increased understanding of this will take the church to an entirely new level of effectiveness. In the book of Acts, Holy Spirit used the word “addition” (prostithemi), to describe the growth of the early church. God was “adding” to their numbers daily (Acts 2:47). The word describing their growth changed, however, in the sixth chapter, when deacons also begin to minister the word and healing, just as the apostles were. From that point on in the book of Acts the word used to describe the growth was “multiplication” (Plethueo). When did the growth transition from adding to multiplying? When the ministry was no longer being done only by the apostles. This is profoundly important.
In the last two or three decades Holy Spirit has been correcting our theology, emphasizing the truth that we are all His ministers, called to do His works. Because of this, the coming revival will see exponential fruit and growth. There will be more miracles outside the four walls where we gather than inside. More people will be led to Christ outside those walls than inside. Holy Spirit’s anointing is not limited to buildings on a Sunday morning.
I mentioned a week ago that Ceci and I were going to the Opry in Nashville to celebrate the induction of The Isaacs as members (an esteemed and prestigious honor within the Country and Bluegrass Music world). Though they are primarily a gospel music group, they have become widely respected and honored in the Country and Bluegrass music world. Their gifts and talents rival any person or group in the secular music industry. Their incredible harmony is unrivaled. They understand that, whether they are in a worship service or at the Opry, they represent the Lord and are called by Him to release His love and light.
And the fact that The Isaacs are so well received in the Country and Bluegrass world is a testament to the fact that people are hungry for what they carry. The songs they sang at the induction, all about the Lord, were not only received, they were LOVED. As the words to It Is Well With My Soul echoed through the building, people responded with a standing ovation and roaring applause. The Isaacs reached people that night, both in the crowd and watching at home, I will never have the opportunity to reach. That is marketplace ministry.
Ricky Skaggs, a winner of many awards, including inductions into both the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Bluegrass Hall of Fame, also performed. Ricky presided in the presentation of The Isaacs’ induction. Being a strong believer, he, too, was very anointed and carried the presence of the Lord into the gathering. It was clear when he sang and presented this award, that an anointed spiritual father was in the house. The pleasure of the Lord was present. Though no altar call was given, thousands of people were touched by the presence of Holy Spirit.
This is what I am referring to by being “called” to “minister,” regardless of the gift or vocation God has destined us with. You may not have a microphone, you may not have a stage, but you have a voice. Over lunch with a coworker, at a backyard barbecue, or during a visit with a hurting friend, you are called to represent Jesus. He is waiting to release His love, power, and anointing through you. Be sensitive to people’s hearts and yes, always be sensitive to your employer and what is acceptable to them, but God will give you opportunities to share Jesus. You are called and you are a minister.
Abraham was a rancher. Noah was a boat builder. Lydia was a merchant. Paul, during segments of his ministry, was a tentmaker. Nehemiah was a cupbearer to the king. Daniel was a governmental advisor. David was a shepherd, then king. Cornelius, used to birth a completely new era of the gospel - the beginning of the Gentile church - was a centurion. Some of those God used most significantly in scripture were in marketplace ministry.
William Wilberforce, who was used to end slavery in the British Empire, was in government. Mother Teresa ran an orphanage. John and Charles Wesley were given to us by a mom of 19 children. Break out of the layman box and move boldly into full-time ministry!
Pray with me:
Father, You have called each of us with a holy calling (2 Timothy 1:9). You said we are able ministers of the new covenant (2 Corinthians 3:6). Increase this revelation in the church. Open the eyes of our understanding to the great anointing we all carry. Show every believer they can do exploits in Your name.
Break wrong paradigms off of us. Do away with our wrong thinking regarding platform ministers versus marketplace ministers. Remove the deception that believes some are called, but others are simply to serve those few. Bring renewed revelation of Mark 16, that all believers are to lay hands on the sick and see them recover, cast out demons, and partner with You in the preaching of the gospel.
We pray for those who make it to the top of the “mountain” You have placed them in. We do not see them as elites, above other believers, but as the point of a spear. They face great resistance and warfare. They experience many temptations to compromise. Keep them pure. You have given them great influence. Make them strong in the Spirit and in the Word. Use them mightily! We fully expect this next wave of revival to go deeper than any other, to be broader than any other, and to bring a billion or more souls into the Kingdom as the church walks fully in her calling. We thank You for Your heart to do this. We love You. Amen.
As the Ekklesia of the Lord Jesus Christ, we declare that His Holy Spirit in us has made us able, competent ministers of His new covenant in the earth (2 Corinthians 3:6).
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