SUNDAY 23 JULY, 2017.
CHALLENGES IN MINISTRY PART 1
The call to ministry is an on-going one and usually God is the initiator. The writer of the letter to the Hebrews recognized this long ago and therefore he says: “no one takes the honour upon himself, he must be called just as Aaron was”, (Heb. 5:4). Impliedly, it is God that recruits people into the ministry. Few examples here may suffice: (Abraham, Genesis 12:1-6, Moses, Exodus 3:1-4, Isaiah, Isaiah 6:1-8, Jeremiah, Jeremiah 1:4-10, Amos, Amos 7:12-16, the disciples of Jesus, Matthew 10:1-4; Mark 1:16-20; Luke 5:1-11 and Paul, Acts 9:1-9) among others.
However, the call to ministry is not a bed of roses as sometimes there are bound to be some challenges, temptations, trials but one is not to be discouraged. Our attitude to challenges when they come in ministry is very essential. It is my hope and prayer that the Holy Spirit will enable us to do the needful in the name of Jesus Christ! Amen.
MINISTERIAL CHALLENGES INCLUDE BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO THE FOLLOWING:
Nominal Christianity: Christianity is the worship of Christ as Lord and personal Saviour. When a Christian is nominal, he is just there by name, not real or actual. Many people who come to Church today or members just do so to be seen, heard, display their wealth, show their status and to be buried by the Church. Such people are described in 2 Tim. 3:5 “as having a form of godliness but denying the power/faith thereof”. Such people are neither hot nor cold. The Church leaders should rise up in this challenge. Godliness and distinct lifestyle that is characteristic of true disciples of the Lord Jesus must return to the Church of God.
Syncretism and Occultism: this is about mixture in faith. Many professed “Christians” have syncretized their faith in God. They have one leg in and the other somewhere. Spiritual problems have made them to serve other gods in their quest to seek help from prayer homes, witch doctors, mystics, water spirits, etc. Many of our Church members come to Church on Sunday s but attend mid-week fellowship/meeting in their so called ministries/fellowships. The Bible clearly states: “thou shall have/serve no other god beside me for I am a jealous God”, Ex. 20:3.
Worldliness: Rom. 12:2 warns about conformity with the patterns of this world. As true Christians, we are in the world but not of the world. The world is going “churchy” while the Church is going “worldly”. I John 2:15 warns: “Love not the world”. The Church has conformed in these areas, dressing habit, marriage ceremonies, eating and drinking habits, introduction of social/cultural habits, etc, “…he that loves the world, the love of the father is not in him.”
Hypocrisy: Many of our Church members are hypocritical. They present themselves to the leaders as white whereas they are black. They are like chameleons. They pretend to support the work of God and the leader but oppose his plans/ideas to destroy it. Responsibilities committed to them hinder the progress of your work. The Church leaders should be sensitive in the spirit and be able to discern.
Fund: “Money answereth all things” – Eccl. 10:19b. It is said that two things make up the Church: “people” and “money”. When a minister has glorious vision and ideas without enough resources to implement it, it becomes frustrating. Also, if resources are available but not adequately used, it creates a big problem too. Either way hinders the work of God.
VEN. ERNEST ONUOHA
Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre,