Last week was our Annual Vestry Meeting (AVM), effectively a business meeting. We received reports, took minutes, and elected office-bearers. These formal processes are important, as we manage the ministry of our church.
But it is good to remind ourselves occasionally that they are not themselves the ministry of our church. They are supporting structures of much more important things that we do as a group of God’s people meeting regularly.
So what exactly IS our ministry? It is the services we run? Well yes it is, but it’s not only that. Interestingly, the word for “ministry” in the New Testament original language (Greek) is the same as the word for “service”. But here it doesn’t mean church services: rather, serving one another. To minister is to consider the needs of those around us and to contribute to those needs.
Sometimes this is bearing others’ burdens. Sometimes it is practical assistance. Sometimes it is the timely word to strengthen each other.
But at the heart of our serving one another must be the good news of Jesus. The message of God’s love expressed in the life, teaching, death and resurrection of Jesus is at the centre of our church life. It motivates us to deny ourselves and take up our own cross; it teach us what it is to make sacrifices; and it draws us to know the very source of love itself: to God. God out-loves us all. None of us can love in the manner and extent that he does. And yet he wants us to walk in his ways nevertheless.
So let’s seek to serve. Whether you’re up the front reading the Bible; whether you’re providing morning tea; whether you’re looking after the needs of others…. Serve, knowing it’s what church is all about.
Having said this, I am so grateful for a great AVM and for the wonderful people who have made themselves available to serve us as office bearers!