For my most recent assignment (finished yesterday yay!) I have had to think through what I believe ministry is, my own gifts and passions, how these might influence my choices in ministry and put together a training plan for the next few years.
I found the assignment helpful because it helped me clarify for myself why, how and what it is we are doing here. In one sense, it was a pretty simple assignment. While for some people starting at college, they have no idea where they are heading or even how they hope to structure their course, having many years of CV conference and discussions with our pastors has meant that we have already had the opportunities to think through the why of full-time ministry work and the how of training for it. Even spending so much time considering which college we would attend for this stage of our training meant that we thought carefully about our goals for college and had considered what factors would be important to us in terms of training.
As part of the assignment we had to discuss it with two people. I was able to discuss it with our two ministers (from Adelaide and Melbourne) and it was exciting for me to be able to connect with people who have been through this stage and see what they consider important in retrospect.
The term ministry means service, although I’m not sure it has always been used in that way, for example our parliamentary ministers are there to serve the country, although sometimes they seem to be more interested in power plays than becoming the least. Nevertheless, Christian ministry is Christian service, service to God and to the church. It is clear in the scriptures that all Christians are called to Christian ministry (let me know if you want more details about this) and there are many different forms Christian ministry may take. All of which have the goal of building up the church and living out God’s purposes in the world. Within the church some people are set apart for particular types of service. These include leadership roles and various ministries. Everyone is a minister, but some have particular defined roles. Some of those roles we also financially support, so as to free up the person from outside work in order to focus fully on that role.
In choosing people for particular roles (especially leadership) the bible describes criteria of a good biblical understanding, personal godliness and ability to fulfill the role (eg ability to teach). Therefore these are the areas that I’m keen to make my goals for the next few years. Biblical knowledge through subjects at bible college, personal godliness is not something that can be taught, but I’m hoping that with support from the college community and church as well as personal discipline in God’s grace I will be able to grow in this area. I have already started trying to improve my ministry skills in ways I haven’t done before, particularly through church but also in being on a chapel team at college.
So, all in all it looks to be an exciting time ahead (as it already has been) as we seek to be equipped for a lifetime of ministry in service of Christ.