Caste System in Church (4): The Goal Of God’s Ministry

It’s time to put a full stop to this series, which started about a month ago with basically this question: “Is it right to distinguish between the ministry of a so-called full-time minister versus a so-called layperson?” What took me so long to conclude this series? What I’ve learned recently really humbled me.

Recently, I came across a quote by the now-notorious Ted Haggard from his book “The Life-Giving Church.” He wrote: “The pastoral team, the staff of the church, is to serve the people of the church in their ministry.” I was going to use this quote to support what I’ve been saying. But this quote somehow bothered me, especially the term “their ministry,” but I couldn’t explain why it bothered me. So I went and did a lot of research.

After much thought and research about this, I realized why the term “their ministry” bothered me. I’ve encountered far too many cases of church abuse and ministry abuse when Christian do things in the name “ministry” yet they’re just serving their own agenda instead of serving God. For example, I’ve seen churches/ministries who are so “territorial” that they frown upon their members having contact with Christians in other churches/ministries because they fear people leaving “their ministry.”

According to Matthew 7:21-23, which says:

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.'”

…… what God cares about is not “our ministry,” but who we are in Him. It might sound weird, but God’s purpose and ultimate goal is not for the church to evangelize and do good in the world. It’s God’s ministry, not our ministry, that should be the focus. And the goal of God’s ministry is not to build up our ministries, but to build us up. He wants to build the church (Matthew 16:18) and us as a holy priesthood (1 Peter 2:5). He calls us the body of Christ and the temple of the Holy Spirit. God’s ultimate goal is for the church to be church, for Christians to actually live our lives in such a way that we’re actually living out the very essence of being the body of Christ.

So there should be no distinction between the pastor’s ministry vs. the laypeople’s ministry. There should be no more caste systems in church nor amongst Christians. Instead, we need to recognize that God is the One at work and He’s building us up, whether we’re leaders in church or not. He manufactures circumstances in our life to mold us in our faith and to test whether we’re really obeying His will or not, in any situation that He’s placed us in. And He did it for our sake. And that’s a humbling thought.

Caste System in Church (1): Do We Care About Souls?
Caste System in Church (2): False Dichotomy
Caste System in Church (3): Churches Need To Talk About Work
Caste System in Church (4): The Goal Of God’s Ministry

3 thoughts on “Caste System in Church (4): The Goal Of God’s Ministry

  1. Hey, although we don’t know each other, I just wanna let you know that I really enjoyed reading your multi-part series in this blog, especially this and the blessings of children one. I can sense that our thinking is quite similar.

    So keep blogging. You write good stuff.

    I write on similar topics on my blog too (e.g. church, theology, culture, movies, parenting….etc.)

    Come visit if you have time =)

  2. @Anson – thanks so much for your encouragements! I’ve been trying to get back into blogging but this month is quite hectic as we’re going into a church merger… I’ll explain more in upcoming blog posts.

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