What Is Ministry?

What did Jesus tell ministers to do? Here is a list of items that constitute a minister’s job description. It isn’t long, and it isn’t complicated. (The part about “raising the dead” might be a little more difficult, so I’ve left that off for simplicity’s sake)

Luke 9:2, 6. Preach the Gospel, that is, proclaim the kingdom of God, and heal.

Luke 10:5, Bless with God’s peace.

Matthew 28:18-20, Teach and baptize.

Luke 22:17-20, Celebrate the Lord’s Supper

John 20:23 Forgive sins.

John 21:ff Feed the sheep.

How did that first generation pass on the task to others? Through laying on of hands and prayer by the apostles or the “council of elders,” and this imparted the gifts of the Holy Spirit (1 Tim 4:14; 2 Tim 1:6). That was later called “ordination,” and it is also not complicated.

Now, here are a couple of corollaries.  If you are doing these things, you are “in the ministry” whether you are the settled pastor of a  congregation (which the apostles were not), or an evangelist (which they were), or a chaplain in an institution.

And if you have been set apart by laying on of hands and prayer to do these things in the name of the church, you are “ordained,” whether you use that term or another.