Minister is a Relationship

Minister is a relationship between the Holy and the Profane, the Heavenly & the Earthly, God & God’s people.

To be a Minister means that you are in relationship with the Holy (by whatever name or term you use) AND with other people, and, in both cases, the relationship is one of devotion & service.

Devotion is shown by listening, studying, learning & understanding what you are called by God to do — and what other people need that you are able to provide.  For many Christians, Jews & Muslims, acts of devotion to God are daily parts of their lives & their days are structured around those acts. For a much smaller group of the devoted, their acts also extend to regular service to other people.

Truly has it been said that if all the Christians followed the teachings of Christ and did the things He preached, we would not have to wait for Heaven, because it would already be here.  Alas, far too many Christians are more followers of Paul & his successors (both Catholic & Protestant) than they are followers of Jesus —  or at least, so it appears based on their actions toward other people.

Unlike some, I have rarely had cause to doubt the sincere devotion of most of my fellow Christians. On the other hand, I often have cause to question their service to people which should be the natural result of that devotion.

To be a Minister means that you are in relationship with God and with God’s people (which includes everyone), and that this relationship is one of devotion AND service. If you are not serving God’s people (which BEGINS with “the least of these” and extends to everyone else on the planet without exception), then you are NOT a Minister, no matter how large of a congregation, political party, or other group you may have backing you.

As someone who was ordained by the Universal Life Church, I struggle with the notion that anyone other than God has the authority or audacity to say who can be a Minister. Of course, the ULC states that they do not stand between God and Minister, they stand between Minister and the government, to inform the government that this person IS a Minister & is doing the things that Ministers do with full authority required to do so.

At the same time, I recognize that many long-standing religious institutions have a different meaning for the term when they call one of their own a Minister. For them, it involves schooling and being a paid employee of a specific congregation, perhaps even serving a specific limited function within that congregation.

Of course, none of the Apostles had that background and there is nothing in the Bible or Church history to indicate that they ever developed it.

Some of these groups base their expectations for their Ministers on the long list of duties found scattered throughout the Bible — and a decent Concordance will show you a daunting list of them.

Even so, just as Jesus cut through the accumulated Law by giving the Great Law (Love God and Love One Another), it seems reasonable to me to cut through the details of their expectations to the core message — Minister is a Relationship, one of devotion & service.

Ultimately, this means that ALL believers are Ministers, if they choose to be so & engage in the devoted service that it requires.

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About Tim Gatewood

55+, male, widowed (May 2016). Mobile notary public and signing agent, freelance writer, and ordained minister. Science fiction and fantasy fan, willing servant to cats, avid reader and collector of books and other stuff. Please see my websites (including this blog and others) for more info on me and what I think about the issues of the day.
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