What Does the Bible Say About Church Ministry?

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The New Testament describes various ministries that the Holy Spirit can give to those he sees fit. In general, all Christians share a common mission, but some are called by God to perform a specific task and are equipped with the necessary gifts of the Holy Spirit. The purpose of these ministries is to serve the church and spread the kingdom of God. Some of the ministries described in the New Testament are apostle, prophet, evangelist, shepherd, teacher, elder, deacon and missionary.

Bible Verses

11And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,(Eph 4:11–12)

2While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.(Ac 13:2–3)

23And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.(Ac 14:23)

2And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. 3Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. 4But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”(Ac 6:2–4)

28Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.(Ac 20:28)

1The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. 2Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, 5for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? 6He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.(1 Ti 3:1–7)

17Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching.(1 Ti 5:17)

Study Questions

  1. What is the difference between the different ministries?
  2. Do you recognize yourself in any of these positions?
  3. What demands can be made on those who have been given a special ministry by God?
  4. What ministries are available or missing in your local church?

Additional Bible Verses

2 Tim 1:11-12, Acts 1:21-22, Eph 2:20

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