We are all ministers—priests who serve the Lord Jesus and people. The false distinction of clergy and laity does not exist in the mind of God. All of His people are called and gifted to minister. Therefore, if change is to take place in the church, be it reformation or revolution, it must begin with us—those who minister. If we are the problem (no ifs—we are), then our mindset of what is important must change.
As a child, I learned an acronym for joy that is the correct and proper attitude for a ministering servant: J—Jesus first, O—others second, and Y—yourself last. Simple, yet profoundly biblical. Sadly, “yourself” has move to the front of the bus and hijacked it, sending Jesus to the back, and leaving the others on the curb. The position and power of ministry have replaced the service of ministry. “Me” (my individual ministry) has become far more important than the mission. Thus ministry is no longer about Jesus and others; it’s all about me.
That’s not ministry! It is selfish prideful narcissism—the exact sin that deformed Lucifer into Satan. And its crippling effect is twisting the body of Christ into a caricature that looks more like a serpent than the Savior.
Where do we start then? Perhaps the better question is: “Where do I start?” The mission must be more important than me. For this to become a reality, a few moments of self examination may reveal how warped our views of ministry have become.
1. Have I fallen in love with the church (that is the power, the perks, the position, the programs, or the glamour) instead of the Creator of the church—Jesus Christ?
2. Has my ministry position in the church replaced my identity in Christ?
3. Do I preach or teach one message, but live out another?
4. Has my success become more important than sacrifice?
5. Is my survival more important than servanthood?
6. Have my wants become more important than the needs of the people I serve?
7. Do I seek to impress others rather than express who Jesus is? (A temporary impression or an eternal expression?)
8. Have ministerial reputation, politics, and resume become more significant than the people I am called to serve?
9. Have I fallen so in love with the sound of my own voice that I am no longer willing to listen to the voice of others around me, much less God?
10. Have I compromised my personal integrity so that I might achieve my own selfish agenda? (Am I justifying the end results by using any means necessary to achieve them?)