Every believer is called to some form of ministry by the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19), but for those in vocational ministry, it is their responsibility to not only reach people for Jesus, but also to equip and send out the saints. In order to begin to minister, we must first evangelize and share the Gospel. This process is expedited through the work of the church. As David Seamands says, “The church is not as much a sending agency as it is a sent agency”. Then we must train and equip them to help them work towards spiritual formation. Finally, we must send them out to reach more people for Jesus. Ministry consists of three components, including calling the saints, equipping the saints, and sending out the saints.
Saints refers to any believer in Jesus, since once we believe in Jesus, we are seen as saints by God because of the redeeming work of Jesus.
Calling the Saints
The start of everyone’s journey is when they come face to face with Jesus and accept him for who he is. This is the first thing those in ministry must pray and work towards. This is where the work of spiritual formation can begin. In order to get to this point, we must pray fervently and create ways to reach out to the community. This is primarily done through equipping of the saints to share the Gospel.
Equipping the Saints
After they come to know Jesus ministering to them means to walk alongside them as the Holy Spirit forms them into the glorified version of themselves. This stage is where most of the ministry work is done. We do this through things like disciplining, creating development programs, and providing opportunities to serve. Here we help them unlock the gifting the Holy Spirit has given them for that season, walk through sin struggles, and encourage them, and more. As we help equip and enable the saints to take steps, they are being formed spiritually.
Sending Out the Saints
Lastly, we must help the saints do the same thing we are doing. While they may not be in vocational ministry, they are called to the same Great Commission as every Christian. Meaning now they are disciplining other believers in their faith walk. This is the next step to realizing the purpose God has planned for them. They must still be poured into, but now they are intentionally pouring out into others. In this final stage they may go through many transitions, but they will stay in this good fight until God calls them home.
Put Together is Spiritual Formation
To do ministry is to walk with people as they go through the stages of spiritual formation. This starts with sharing the good news of Jesus with them through evangelizing. Then moves to equipping and disciplining them in their faith journey. Lastly, moving to a place of sending them out to do the work of ministry themselves in their own lives. While there are many stages within each of these arenas of life, this is what it means to do ministry.