I didn't fully get the nature of ministry when I was ordained as a Spiritual Minister. In reality, I became a pastor in search of a deeper relationship with God and a more concrete experience of living A Course in Miracles. I was given the title of “Reverend” at Ordination, but I put it on the back shelf until I had further understanding and instructions from my Inner Teacher. The Holy Spirit has helped me understand that “I am among the ministers of God” throughout the last decade. I've discovered that ministry equips us to extend God's Love in the world according to God's Plan for our life, from ongoing healing and forgiving work to teaching ministerial students. “Heaven has cast our part.” In reality, we are all ministers of God, and the people whose lives we touch, such as family and friends, are also part of our ministry.
Before You Continue...
Do you know what is your soul number? Take this quick quiz to find out! Get a personalized numerology report, and discover how you can unlock your fullest spiritual potential. Start the quiz now!
What is the spiritual meaning of ministry?
Ministry is a Christian activity in which Christians express or propagate their beliefs, with the Great Commission serving as the model. It is “conferred on each Christian in baptism,” according to the Encyclopedia of Christianity, and it is “carrying out Christ's mission in the world.” Most Christians participate in it. This is distinct from the “office of minister,” which is held by those who have a strong sense of calling. It can refer to the entire activity, specialized activities, or church organizations dedicated to specific activities. Some ministries are formally labeled as such, while others are not; some ministries are oriented at church members, while others are directed at non-members. Also see Apostolates.
What does having a ministry mean?
Christianity, the office held by those who are called to special vocational service in a church by ecclesiastical authority or who are set aside by ecclesiastical authority to be ministers in the church. Different churches have different types of ministry. The episcopal system, which emerged in the early church and is still used by the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Old Catholic, Anglican, and some Protestant churches, was developed in the early church.
What does the Bible say ministry is?
Ministry isn't just sitting around praying or reading the Bible all day; it's a full-time job. You must get out and talk to people; you must feed your own soul; you must minister to others and assist in communities, among other things.
Some of us were chosen as apostles, prophets, missionaries, pastors, and instructors by Christ so that his people would learn to serve and his body would grow stronger. This will continue until our faith and comprehension of the Son of God bring us together. Then, like Christ, we will have reached maturity and will be entirely like him. (CEV)
As a result, I urge you to fan into flame the gift of God that you have received through the laying on of my hands. Because the Spirit God has given us gives us power, love, and self-discipline, not timidity. So do not be ashamed of our Lord's testimony or of me, his prisoner. Rather, with God's grace, join me in suffering for the gospel. (NIV)
As a result, we do not lose heart because we have this ministry because of God's mercy. (NIV)
We live in such a way that no one will be harmed as a result of our actions, and no one will criticize our ministry. We demonstrate that we are authentic ministers of God in all we do. We patiently bear all kinds of trials, tribulations, and disasters. (NLT)
Friends, let's not waste any time. You were chosen to serve as the Lord's priests and to offer sacrifices to him. (CEV)
What is a divine call to ministry?
Every Christian is called to minister to others and make disciples, regardless of who they are or what they do. You could be a nurse, a business owner, a dog groomer, an athlete, or some bizarre mix of the four, and God would still call you to serve people and share the gospel. That is the true meaning of ministry.
a person who has been called to “the ministry” has a strong sense that God wants him or her to spend their entire life to full-time service in the local church or ministry. Pastors, missionaries, nonprofit organization directors, and parachurch leaders are all common careers for them. While these individuals can still work other part-time professions, they feel compelled to commit their lives to serving on the front lines of ministry and equipping others to perform Kingdom service.
The Called Collective is for high school students who believe God is calling them into vocational ministry. As a result, one of the most common questions high school students have about this subject is, “How does a person become a minister?”
Everyone's call is unique, but Keith Drury discusses five common ways God could call someone to commit their career to serving his Church in his book The Call of a Lifetime.
The Damascus Road Call
In Acts 9, the religious leader Saul (also known as Saul of Tarsus) is described “When Paul was on his way to Damascus, he had a vision. He was dazzled by a burst of light from heaven, which sent him to the ground in amazement. He heard Jesus' voice speak directly to him at that very moment: “Why are you persecuting me, Saul?”
In that time, Saul was shaken! So much so that, as a result of a heavenly encounter with God himself, he turned from persecuting Christians to dedicating his life to promoting the Gospel.
The Progressive Call
Today, the Progressive Call is the most popular call type. This calling is a series of circumstances that occur over the course of your life until you realize that full-time ministry is what God wants you to do. It could start with being up in a Christian home and having a natural desire to love and tell others about God. Your Youth Pastor will invite you to join the Youth Leadership Team once you've joined youth group. On other nights, you start assisting with activities, leading a small group, and even making announcements. As you become more involved, you discover how much you enjoy it, to the point where you decide to commit your life to ministering to teenagers as a youth pastor. However, it took you six years of active participation in your youth group to get there.
Because the progressive call takes so long to manifest, it's easy to doubt your calling and wonder if this is actually what you're meant to do with your life. If your mind wanders there, concentrate on God's constant presence and growing inner voice. Request that he keep revealing his will and path. He'll make it crystal clear.
The Call From Birth
Some folks can't remember a period when they didn't feel compelled to enter the ministry. These preachers had accepted a call early in their lives and had never looked back. Jeremiah was called to ministry before he was even formed in the womb (Jeremiah 1:5), and Samuel was dedicated to serving the Lord before his mother gave birth to him (1 Samuel 1:11).
This is also an unusual call, but it does happen now and again. Even though God chose who he would call to ministry before time started, some people never went through a period of wrestling, a Damascus road experience, or a progressive process to discover their calling. It's just been there all along.
The Set-Apart-By-The-Church Call
God frequently talks through other people, and this is especially true of his Church. God's chosen people to minister to the world, proclaim his name, and spread his Kingdom are known as the Church. The Church not only bears God's witness to all of humanity, but also speaks on God's behalf to others. God will sometimes call someone into the ministry just because other Christians tell them they'd be terrific in full-time ministrybefore they've even considered it!
According to Drury, some people are better at hearing God's voice than others. Someone who has spent the last 50 years walking intimately with the Lord may be more sensitive to how the Spirit is acting in the lives of others. God will press in on these people with a conviction about what he wants to do in someone else's life, even if that person hasn't yet developed the ability to hear God's voice.
If this describes you, you've probably heard others suggest you'd become a terrific pastor or ministry leader before you even considered it. You shouldn't, however, rely only on what others have said. Begin to consider the idea and put it to the test in your local church. If the work of ministry appeals to you, pay attention: God might be calling you to it.
The Open Door Call
It's as though open door calls appear out of nowhere. They begin as exciting possibilities “open the door” to dedicating one's entire life to ministry This could happen, for example, on a missions trip, where witnessing productive ministry in a culture hungry for the Word of God dramatically transforms a person's life. She is so inspired by this ministry experience that she resolves to devote her life to missions full-time. She chose to walk through the door that had been opened.
Those who have a close relationship with a preacher are another example. Their close association with a pastor or church ministry exposes them to the possibilities of a ministry career. The concept may then be implanted in someone's head by God “Why not do the same with your life?” As a result, the door to ministry is now open.
This is by no means an exhaustive list. Although these are the five most common ways Jesus invites individuals to ministry, he may be calling you in a way that is distinct from these five or a combination of the five. Regardless, no call is superior to the others. Don't think that having a nagging desire to serve God is any less than God bringing you a dramatic event urging you to do so. The most crucial component in getting a call from God is obedience at the end of the day. It's never about how you answer the phone; it's about what you do with it.
How do you know God is calling you into ministry?
As a devout Christian, you're on the lookout for evidence that you're destined for ministry. You're ecstatic by the prospect and can't wait to get started! However, there is an undercurrent of anxiety and doubt that runs parallel to the waves of enthusiasm.
How do I get started in ministry?
It may be really fulfilling to build a ministry and watch it bless your neighborhood. Maybe you're a representative of an established organization looking to start a new enterprise, or maybe you're an individual want to start a ministry from the ground up. In either case, getting started can be a difficult task. To make things move more smoothly, follow these suggestions.
Every ministry begins with an idea and a group of people who are committed to seeing it through. The first stage is to fine-tune your venture's concept. After that, devise a strategy and draft your organization's founding documents.
Here are some things to think about as you and your team get ready to serve the community.
Fine-tune your concept. According to the Small Business Administration, you should figure out who your organization is trying to help, set a plan of achievable goals, and make sure you have the resources you need to succeed.
Organize yourself. Choose a legal structure for your business. Consider whether you'll need to apply for 501(c)(3) status in the near future for financial and tax reasons. Your ministry must be a trust, corporation, or organization to qualify for this status. See the “Establish Your Ministry” section of this article for more information on how to get 501(c)(3) status.
Consider all of the costs of beginning your business and make sure you have enough money. Set aside enough money for at least three months of operations as a safety net in case of financial challenges. Here are some costs to think about before starting your ministry:
Create the documents that will serve as the foundation for your ministry. To describe the goal and structure of your ministry, write a mission statement and bylaws.
The basic values of your organization should be communicated in your mission statement. Include philanthropic and biblical references in your statement, as this will help you later with your 501(c)(3) application.
Bylaws serve as a foundation for establishing the organization and decision-making procedures of your ministry. You could be held legally liable if you don't follow your bylaws, so make sure they're clear and followed regularly. Before putting any foundational documents into force, have them examined and approved by a local certified attorney.
To begin, assemble a board of directors. Remember that your organization can benefit from the leadership of specialists in subjects linked to board duties as you seek a board of directors. Seek out people who believe in your mission and have professional backgrounds in finance, law, construction, and business to help you. Your board of directors should agree rules, a budget, and a schedule for attaining measurable goals at its first meeting. The meeting's founding materials and minutes should be retained for future referenceand in case they're ever needed in court.
It's time to properly establish your ministry in the eyes of your state once you and your board of directors have a plan. This may appear intimidating at first, but by supplying thorough and precise information, you can make the process go more smoothly. Here are some pointers:
Your ministry should be registered and incorporated. Many ministries choose to be organized as businesses. Organizing your ministry as a business can help you achieve the following goals:
- Allow your board of directors to choose to shield those working in your ministry from being held personally accountable in the event of an accident.
- To your Secretary of State, submit your organization's legal name and articles of formation. The name of your ministry identifies it and what it stands for.
- Make sure your name isn't already taken with a nonprofit search engine. Alternatively, for a modest price, your Secretary of State can conduct the search.
- Look into the rules for what your articles of incorporation must include in your state. When you're completed, take the document to your Secretary of State and pay any fees that are due.
A ministry typically submits its Articles of Incorporation documents to the Secretary of State in its state to legally request corporate status.
Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) (EIN). The next step is to apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS when your Secretary of State authorizes your articles of incorporation. Your ministry can use an EIN to open a post office box and file tax paperwork. You can apply for an EIN via the internet, fax, mail, or phone.
Examine whether or not you are tax-exempt. Based on which scenario best reflects your ministry, complete one of the three directions below:
- If you're forming a church, the IRS and your state government may already recognize your organization as tax-exempt, though you may need to file papers in some situations. To learn about the restrictions that apply, speak with a certified attorney in your area. Skip to the “Grow Your Team” section if your attorney confirms that the IRS and your state recognize your church as tax-exempt.
- You may already have 501(c)(3) status if your business is part of an established ministry. Check with your lawyer to be sure this is the case. If that's the case, go through to the “Grow Your Team” section. If not, proceed to the “File for Tax-Exempt Status” section below for procedures.
- You'll need to apply for tax-exempt status if you're beginning a new ministry that isn't a church. Follow the steps outlined below.
Make a tax-exempt application. IRS Form 1023, your certificate of organization, your bylaws, your EIN, any appropriate fees, a proposed budget for the next two years, and a synopsis of how your ministry serves the community should all be included in your 501(c)(3) application.
Your organization's ministry-related income will be excluded from federal taxes if you receive 501(c)(3) status. Tax-deductible contributions to 501(c)(3) organizations are allowed. You may be able to save money on state, local, and employment taxes, as well as postal rates, if you have this status.
Once your ministry has an EIN, it will be able to open a bank account. However, because tax-exempt bank accounts have lower costs and other benefits, it may be advisable to wait until you receive 501(c)(3) status. If your organization already has a bank account, request that it be converted to a tax-exempt account once you have been granted 501(c)(3) status.
After your group has received federal tax exemption, cooperate with a locally licensed attorney to petition for state tax exemption.
Adding workers and volunteers to your ministry can help it make a bigger difference in the community. To build a foundation of trust with your new hires, complete appropriate documentation, respect the law, and create a solid payroll process.
You're getting ready to hire your first employee. In addition to acquiring an EIN, your ministry must complete the following tasks in order to hire your first employee:
- Inquire with your accountant about whether you need to register with state and local tax authorities. Brotherhood Mutual's MinistryWorks, a payroll processing company, may be able to assist you with this work.
- To keep track of your ministry's wages and taxes, create a ledger or an electronic spreadsheet.
- Find out if your company is required to put posters informing employees about labor regulations by visiting the US Small Business Administration's workplace posters page.
- Create an employment handbook for ministry employees that covers workplace norms and expectations. This manual should be reviewed and approved by a professional attorney in the area.
- Look into getting a workers' compensation policy. Before you begin employing, you may be legally obligated to have a policy in place.
After you've been hired, maintain your composure. It's vital to observe all applicable labor and tax rules. Failure to do so can result in significant fines and penalties. Here are a few pointers to help you keep on track:
- Within three days of commencing work, have everyone of your new hires fill out a Form I-9. This document is used by the government to confirm a worker's ability to work in the United States.
- Fill out a Form W-4 for each of your employees, which will assist your company deduct the exact amount of federal income tax from each employee's pay.
- Fill out a Form W-2 for each employee at the end of the year. This document informs the government of the employee's previous year's earnings, salary, and tax information. By January 31 of each year, send a copy of each employee's W-2 to the IRSand to the employee.
- All active employees should have copies of the three documents indicated above, and their records should be kept on file in a secure area for three years after they cease working for your company. Keep track of your ministry's tax deposits by date as well.
- Within 20 days of hire, report all newly recruited or rehired personnel to your state directory. This data is gathered by state governments to assist them in making legislative decisions.
- Consult your accountant to see if you need to file Form 941, which is filed quarterly with the IRS to report employees' pay and taxes withheld.
Browse our MinistryWorks resources for more information on payroll processing and payroll taxes.
Oversee the work of independent contractors. Independent contractors, such as traveling evangelists, may be employed by your ministry. It's not always clear what the legal distinction between contractors and employees is. For more information, talk to your lawyer. Inquire with an accountant about how to properly withhold taxes from contractors. For additional information, see our Employee and Volunteer Management resources.
There's a higher chance of injury, property damage, and legal action when you open your ministry's doors and allow the community inside. These dangers can weigh heavily on ministry employees and administrators' minds, but effective risk management allows your team to concentrate more on outreach.
Examine your insurance alternatives. For your ministry, consider buying the following types of insurance:
- Extra liability coverage (depending on your organization's needs) Umbrella/excess liability coverage
- Coverage for medical expenses (coverage for medical injuries sustained by non-employees)
Find the best agent and policy for you. Your insurance agent can be a valuable resource in assisting your ministry in risk management. Your agent should assist your organization in determining the minimal coverages required to comply with the law, as well as recommend additional coverages to meet the needs of your ministry. By examining your facilities for safety issues and offering education and resource materials, a good insurance agent may also assist you reduce risks.
Begin by looking for an insurance agent who specializes in ministries. This may exclude out agents in your immediate area, but choosing an agent that understands the unique problems and insurance needs of ministries is critical. Many traditional agencies sell typical plans that don't cover things like baptistery overflows, infinite glass damage, or the dangers of pastoral counseling.
Look for a “independent” agent rather than a “captive.” A captive agent works with only one insurance provider. Independent agents sell insurance products from a variety of firms, providing them the freedom to choose the products that are ideal for your company.
Request a list of the agent's ministry customers who can provide as references when considering an agent. These testimonials provide personal information about the agent's client service and experience.
Also, when looking for a new insurance provider, do your homework. Consult consumer ratings from a respected provider like A.M. Best and speak with ministry colleagues in your area who have insurance with the carrier.
Assess the dangers. Consider the following questions as you work with your insurance agent to determine how much coverage your ministry requires:
- What are the most likely types of losses? Examine your grounds, equipment, vehicles, and program schedule to ensure that everything is in working order. Predict the kind of losses your company is most likely to suffer.
- How comfortable is your company with taking on risk? Some ministries are willing to take on a high level of risk, while others want to take a more conservative approach to insurance.
Your ministry began as a concept, and after a lot of hard work, you now have the foundation for a great business. Here are a few last things to think about as you and your team prepare to serve the community:
Encourage openness. Encourage transparency throughout your organization, beginning with your board of directors, to establish a reputation of integrity. At each board meeting, go over financial decisions and invite members to ask questions. A board member utilizing ministry funds to hire his own contracting firm is hardly the kind of story that will help your ministry build a good name.
Maintain a current set of bylaws. Ensure that your board of directors and personnel are aware with your ministry's bylaws. Is it clear to everyone in your company who has the authority to make hiring and firing decisions? Is the process of making financial decisions transparent?
Certain operating processes may need to be changed once your company gets up and running. Update your bylaws to reflect the changes so that everyone involved in your ministry is on the same page. Ensure that all bylaw amendments are examined and approved by a licensed attorney in the area.
Understand the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Many ministries are covered under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which was designed primarily for companies. The FLSA regulates minimum wage, overtime pay, minors in the workplace, and other issues. Learn how the FLSA may effect your ministry by looking through our resources.
Non-ministry income must be reported. You can add sources of income from non-ministry activities, such as a coffee shop or bookshop, as your group grows. Consult your lawyer to see if the profits from these ventures are liable to the Unrelated Business Income Tax (UBIT).
Children and youth should be protected. Background screening and watchful supervision are critical safety precautions while working with a brand-new team. Encourage your employees to report any unusual or questionable behavior. Teach your employees about reporting laws pertaining to child abuse and other crimes, as well as your company's internal reporting system.
Adapt to new dangers. Some ministries try to save money by choosing the cheapest insurance policy when they first start out. However, when your ministry grows, you may find that your buildings, property, and people are underinsured. Keep in touch with your insurance representative. To keep your company safe, add and update coverages as needed. Do you require the services of an agent? We'll assist you in locating one.
What are the five ministries in the Bible?
This is simple to grasp if you've ever played computer role-playing games. When Jesus ascended to heaven, He vowed to construct His Church, His ekklesia, which was a “faithful body of people” rather than a facility where people could hold services. He passed on His ministry in five main components or functions to us as the head of the Church (Colossians 1:18): apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds (pastors), and teachers.
As we engage in God's work, everyone of us has a role to perform that God has chosen for us. Each of us is also given different spiritual gifts and natural abilities to help us play this job individually and effectively – but that's a story for another day.
Before you take a quick quiz to find out what part you might play, here's a quick rundown of each of the Five which is sometimes illustrated with a hand graphic.