Jesus told his disciples ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few’ (Matthew 9:37). Being a worker takes many forms and can be done in all kinds of ways. As a church we want to recognise people who are ministering in diverse ways, by talking about Community Ministers.
We want to affirm the following characteristics that we believe mark out a community minister:
- Jesus-Rooted: their ministry flows from their relationship with Christ
- Intentional: they make space and time for ministry and are intentional about the activities they get involved in
- Discipleship: they are committed to their own ongoing learning and desire to inspire and mentor others
- Accountability: they create links which hold them accountable – e.g. with the church, a sponsoring organisation, a mentor or support group etc.
It’s arguably a tall order, but deliberately so. We believe that we all minister (the concept of ‘priesthood of all believers’ in 1 Peter 2:9), yet some are able to do this with a focus, clarity and availability that stand out among us. Community ministers are able to make time available on a regular basis (equivalent to at least one day per week). They pursue initiatives that they believe resonate with God’s calling on their lives. To sustain this they will be serious about their discipleship and make themselves accountable to others so they operate with best practice and make good decisions.
Their activities will often be completely voluntary, although a church or mission orientated organisation may employ them for part of their work. The ministry will be local to their community, and distinctively Christian in its values and aims.
We need people who can fit this bill – ‘ask the Lord of the harvest to send workers!’.