I have discovered that ministry is always full of promise because Jesus Christ is the One giving us the promise and assurance. He alone provides the power to accomplish the good work which is begun in His Name. Karl Barth assures us that the Holy Spirit will back up the personal Word of the living Jesus Christ and the “promise which marks ministry guarantees that, no matter how threateningly they may open up on every hand, the gates of hell (Mt. 16:18) shall not swallow it up.”[1]

Karl Barth also states, “The ministry and therefore the witness of the community is essentially and in all forms and circumstances the declaration of the Gospel.”[2] I agree with Barth—New Beginnings U.M.C. has the primary purpose of sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to make disciples for the transformation of the world through the ministry programs that we support. Our task is to learn how to put the message in the ears of both believers and non-believers. We are called to share our testimonies of God’s salvation wherever we are to edify (build up) those in Christ and remind them of the primary mission of the Church.

Everything, absolutely everything, we do revolves around one thing—the Jesus story. It was, is, and will always be salvation for those who do not know the story of the One who came and died for the sins of the world and who now lives. The world needs the declaration of the Gospel, and again, our primary mission is to pass it on to others. We need to return to a simple truth—We are called and set apart to share God’s greatest gift, Jesus Christ. As Barth states, “in the simple or varied proclamation: ‘Jesus Christ is risen, He is risen, indeed!’ Otherwise, it does not have any sterling content at all, and therefore, though it may not be lacking in majesty and possible results, it has no promise.”[3]

The primary focus of ministry is to participate with God (in service to others), to discover how to know God more from the Scriptures and other believers, and to share what we learn with others in small groups to help them in their various ministries to promote Christ. So read your Bibles, meet with other believers, and then go forth in ministries to promote Jesus. Then you can do what my brother Mark tells me to do—Go and Give Them Heaven.

[1] Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics IV/3.2 “The Ministry of the Church,” 840.

[2] Ibid, 844.

[3] Ibid, 846.