Service: 70 Things Every Man Needs to Know
Excerpted from Pastoring Men, Moody Publishers.
Most Christian men have it in their hearts to serve God, but find it difficult to develop a personal ministry. They need someone to show them “how.”
God wants every believer to have a personal ministry. “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10). God has a particular task, good work, or personal ministry for each of us.
A personal ministry is based upon a man’s spiritual gifts (see the topic “Spiritual Gifts”).
Our two principal tasks are redemptive tasks “to build the kingdom” (the Great Commission, Matthew 28:18-20) and cultural tasks “to tend the culture” (the cultural mandate, Genesis 1:28). For most men, more than 80 percent of their time will be spent “tending the culture” through their families, work, civic duties, and community life. Some will have more opportunity than others to share their faith at work, but all can demonstrate the reality and relevance of Jesus through the way they work. As Francis of Assisi said in his familiar saying, “Go ye into all the world, preach the gospel and, if necessary, use words.”
Here are six areas where a man can develop a personal ministry:
- In the family. This must be a man’s first and top priority in ministry. Here are activities you can recommend: Pray before all meals. Have a fifteen-minute daily devotion three or four days a week during the school year. Pray for children daily (you may be the only person in the whole world willing to pray for your children on a regular basis). Consider paying your kids to do private devotions. Use the honor system and make them keep track over a period of months. After God, but before all others, make your wife your top priority. If you want a powerful ministry, disciple your own family.
- In the church. The next place to have a ministry, if he can, is in the church. Most men will find an outlet for their spiritual gifts in the church.
- At work. Men don’t have to wear their faith like an outer garment (but you can). Be sensitive for opportunities to care for people. Be excellent. People will decide if Christianity is true or not based upon how you work when you think no one is looking. Francis Schaeffer said, “If you do your work well you will have a chance to speak.” You can take a more active role, such as teaching or organizing a Bible study at your office before work or during lunch.
- In the community. Use your imagination. Start a community-wide annual prayer breakfast. Consider becoming foster parents. Dedicate your home to Christ and open it up for a Bible study group. Organize a neighborhood Christmas party at which you give your personal testimony. Serve dinners to homeless people at your local shelter on Thanksgiving or Christmas.
- Across culture. Get to know a person of a different racial/ethnic/cultural background. Take “The Three Week Reconciliation Challenge”: Invite someone racially different to have breakfast, lunch, or coffee once a week for three weeks. Share where each of you are on your spiritual pilgrimage. Learn about each other’s families, work, interests. If you are making progress, you can keep meeting. Take away each other’s apathy and anger. Dispel myths. Quell fears.
- To the world. Have a missionary family stay at your home during the church’s missions conference. Pray for missionaries using a globe. Write missionaries and support them financially. Send care packages for their children’s birthdays. Take a mission trip if you can. It’s a real eye-opener. It is good to walk among the poor, to see their hunger for God, to feel the weight of their conditions and become sensitive to them personally.
For More: See chapter 18, “Developing a Personal Ministry,” in Discipleship for the Man in the Mirror (Zondervan), from which this article is excerpted.
#436 © 2011. Patrick Morley. All rights reserved. This article may be reproduced for non-commercial ministry purposes with proper attribution.