Every organisation has its vision, mission statement, development plans among many other things. This is equally true of the Church; local and universal and also of any other Christian ministry. Here at Sovereign Grace Fellowship, there are Three Ministry Philosophies that undergirds our mission towards the proclamation of the gospel to the glory of God.
Many ministries are supposedly at the forefront of God’s work, but if their modus operandi is examined, one can conclude these ministries are not doing God’s work God’s way. These ministries have become entertainment centers where nothing of eternal value is being built. In the words of C.H. Spurgeon, “The devil has seldom done a cleverer thing than hinting to the church that part of their mission is to provide entertainment for the people, with a view to winning them.“
If we have to reach the world and win them to Christ, then we must do so God’s way. In the Scripture, we have blue prints by which ministry must be done.
Preach The Word Of God
The Word Of God is indispensable in the life of any ministry (Acts 6:2, 2Tim 4:2). The core mandate of a Christian ministry is the preaching of God’s word. A ministry which ceases in preaching the word of God ceases to be a Christian ministry. It can engage in a plethora of activities but where the word of God is not preached, sinners would not be converted and believers would not mature. No doubt, there are other things that matter in a ministry apart from preaching the word of God. In fact they are of high importance: taking care of the poor, feeding the hungry, providing shelter to the homeless and many other commendable social interventions.
However, as important as these are, they must not take center stage in the life of a ministry at the expense of the preaching of the word. In Acts 6:1, we see a need, a very crucial need arising in the first century church with the potential of distracting the preaching of God’s word. Though very important, the Apostles responded swiftly issuing a statement pointing to the central role the preaching of God’s word plays in the life of a ministry: “…It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables…But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” (Acts 6:2,4).
Sadly, today, many churches and ministries are nothing but secular organisations led by business men parading as preachers. One bishop described himself as “a behavioural leadership coach, a strategist and a high-impact contemporary preacher with a dynamic teaching ministry”. That is quiet a resume for a preacher isn’t it?
Rightly Divide The Word Of God
Preaching the word of God is one thing. Preaching it rightly is another thing. The charge to rightly handle the word means the word can be wrongly handled. Presently, false Christianity is the hottest commodity that sells. Preachers spin and twist Scripture to tell people what they want to hear. But a ministry that would be faithful must “rightly handle the word”.
To rightly handle the word of God is simply to minister, preach, teach or exegete God’s word with accuracy. If we don’t handle Scriptures accurately, we step into the danger of eisegesis; reading our own meaning into God’s word and forcing it to say what it is not saying. “Precision and accuracy are required in biblical interpretation, beyond all other enterprises, because the interpreter is handling God’s Word. Anything less is shameful”.
Let me draw an analogy with our legal system. If in a legal proceedings, a judge twists a legal interpretation, someone can be wrongfuly condemened for a crime even condemned to death. In the same way, a ministry which doesn’t rightly handle the word is damning the souls of men and women to destruction. There are dangers to souls when the word of God is twisted. If we care for souls we will care for the right handling of God’s word.
Teach Sound Doctrine
Following from the last point, the reason we must “rightly handle the word” is because “a time is coming” and I believe the days we live in can be pointed as such time “when people people will not endure sound teaching”. These days are indeed upon us. Now sound doctrine is simply sound teachings. So what the Scripture is saying is that a time will come people will close their ears and hearts to sound teachings about the Christian faith.
Because of the propensity towards falsehood when people having itching ears accumulate for themselves teachers who will only tell them what they want to hear, it is important every ministry endeavours to teach sound doctrine “because we must ascertain truth in a world of falsehood. “Many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1). There are tares among the wheat and wolves among the flock (Matthew 13:25; Acts 20:29). The best way to distinguish truth from falsehood is to know what the truth is” .
When these three are in place, then we can be confident the result that will follow is from God. There is a relationship between preaching the word and the salvation of souls. It is through the preached word rightly handled that God displays His power to saving faith: “And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith” (Acts 6:7).
Finally, undergirding all these is prayer. Note the Apostles specifically indicated “we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” (Acts 6:7). God’s work cannot be done in human strength. So in all we do, we must pray.
2: Commentary on 2Timothy 2:15 in THE MACARTHUR STUDY BIBLE Copyright © 2006 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.