Just do ministry like Jesus?

30 03 2010

Saw another article today that said if you want to know how to do ministry, just read the Gospels and do ministry like Jesus.

Now, I think I understand where the person is coming from, and on the surface that seems like such a Gospel centered statement. However, I want to quote a few lines from the book Preaching with Bold Assurance by Hershael York and Bert Decker…

Frankly, we are never told to preach like Jesus and probably shouldn’t try.  While that sentence may shock and make you wonder why we would make such a strange statement, allow me to explain.  Certainly we should emulate many elements of Jesus’ preaching: His passion, his high view of Scripture, his confrontation and application, and his tendency to force a decision of acceptance or rejection.  But on the other hand, we must admit that Jesus, as the sovereign Creator of the universe, had intents, information, and abilities that we do not have.” (pg. 15)

So, my point here is that I think we should use the ministry of Jesus to set our foundation for ministry…BUT, we can’t be Jesus because we are fallen.

York and Decker go on to say (concerning the woman at the well) “Now, first of all, none of us can know such intimate details about the sins of people we just met, and even if we could, it probably would not be best to use such knowledge! After all, we are sinners just like they. Should we witness to others because Jesus witnessed? Absolutely! Should we follow his methodology? No! We can find certain elements in his witness that must be in ours, but we can also find elements that are the sole province of the Son of God and cannot be emulated.” (pg. 16)

The point is, we are called to be like Christ, not be Christ. There are two dangers in wanting to be Christ.  1st is even if you have the right motivations, you are setting yourself up for failure.  2nd You are setting yourself for a huge temptation to be like God, which just so happens to be the reason mankind fell (Gen. 3:5).

So where do we get our models for ministry? The Bible! I’m not saying we don’t use Scripture. Not only can we use the Bible, but we MUST use the Bible! My point is just to caution you to not fall prey to a works based mentality for ministry. In other words, “if i just do ministry just like Jesus, i’ll succeed.”  Trust Christ for direction, but don’t crucify yourself for your disciples…Your blood can’t save them.

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