For those of you not up to date, first of all welcome! My name is Eliza Edge, and my current job is serving as a missionary in Auckland, New Zealand. My post is at a church plant north of the city in a very new suburb called Millwater. I've learned a lot from the pastor I work with, including how to scuba dive and play squash, but the biggest thing he's shown me is the necessity of ministry and the church's role in its surrounding community. A huge shout out to John and the people of Millwater Wesleyan: this one is thanks to you!
Ministry is a much bigger term than I had first realized. Before serving here, I had thought of ministry as a church and its various facets of churching for different ages, ie Children's ministry, youth ministry, young adult ministry, full adult ministry, older adult ministry, mom/dad ministry, and so on and so forth. Bascially, I thought it was groups of people of a similar age gathering and getting to know Jesus better, but ministry is much more than that. Ministries are anything that is showing or telling all the children and people of the world that Jesus loves them(think soup kitchen, prayerful walks through neighborhoods, visiting rest homes, service projects, etc.) It's a model that the early church put into place that I feel is easily forgotten amongst us comfortable church goers today.
Churches can be quite prone to insular ministry, which is important and vital to its members, but if that is all we're doing then we've forgotten the main purpose behind being a Christian: go and tell. We are meant to be out in the community around us doing whatever we can to reach our neighbors and let them know that God loves them more than they will ever know! We don't always say that directly but often that message is most clearly demonstrated in actions and service. Sometimes it's a free counseling service without an agenda, sometimes it's a prayer blanket, and sometimes it's something as small as a smile. All of the gifts we have to offer the world are meant to be shared with the church and the church is then meant to use what it is given to give to the community around it. If the church is merely feeding itself, then it's missing the point. If we as individuals are only praying and reading our bibles and meeting in our community groups and feeding ourselves but not actually sharing all this nourishment God has given us...if that is our story, we are missing the mark.
We are creative beings! No matter whether you think your idea is too silly or too small, if you have an inkling of a thought that would help you and your church reach a community, use it. Talk to your pastor and ask how to turn your thoughts into actions. Similar to conductors, pastors are guides for these sorts of things. They are there to facilitate ministries that will share the gospel. It's up to us normal people to share our visions and our thoughts when God places them on our hearts. Whenever you feel an inspiration from the holy spirit moving inside, share it with your community and pastor! It may not change the world, but it may just brighten someone's world.
Resident in Mission for WME