She had never lived in the United States before moving to our town to teach at the high school. She was unfamiliar with our culture. She knew no one. But when someone told her about our church, she was immediately interested in the choir because of her love for singing. Choir members befriended her. They invited her home for Sunday lunches and traditional holiday meals. She listened to the worship leader’s devotionals at rehearsals and to the preacher’s sermons. She was singing Christian songs and hymns every week. Although in her home country Christianity was suppressed, she soon became convinced that Jesus was the only way to know God. She saw His impact on her choir friends. Several shared the gospel with her, and within a few months, her life was changed forever!
Does this story surprise you? If so, it might be because you’ve never thought of a choir as a gospel sharing ministry. But shouldn’t every ministry in the church be sharing the gospel?
Why Every Ministry Matters
Ministry occurs when we serve others by meeting needs. In a “perfect” church (and there are no perfect churches), every ministry is conducted by members who possess a sense of God’s call and a clear purpose for their work. When the needs within the church or community change, leaders should carefully consider and pray about the launching of new ministries and the “closing” of others. Ministries that meet real needs matter.
But there’s another reason why every ministry matters in your church. When Jesus preached the gospel, He also ministered to the practical needs of His hearers (Matthew 4:23-24). For example, He didn’t simply talk about God’s love for people – He demonstrated God’s love for them through His ministry to them. Ministry was the illustration of His message! Understood in this way, the message of the gospel and the ministry of the church are inseparable. Every ministry in the church becomes an opportunity to share the gospel.
How Every Ministry Can Be a Gospel Sharing Ministry
What ministries are you involved with in your church? Whether you greet people, work in the nursery, teach a class, or sing in the choir, God has placed you in a vital ministry that has the supernatural potential to help others come to know and trust Jesus for salvation. How can you be a part of what God is doing through the ministries of your church?
Pray. Slow down and begin this journey by renewing your fellowship with the Lord. James encouraged us to “draw near to God, and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8). As we spend time with Him, His presence begins to affect our hearts, and our hearts begin to align with His. Moved with compassion for the lost, Jesus taught His followers to ask the Father “to send out workers into his harvest” (Matthew 9:38). The Father “sends” those whose hearts have been touched with the same compassion Jesus has for the lost. Pray also with others involved in your ministry area, asking the Lord to give you opportunities to share the gospel.
Trust. Evangelism can be scary. We fear not knowing what to say – or worse – saying the wrong thing. Jesus never intended that we serve Him in our own strength. In fact, He said, “you can do nothing without Me” (John 15:5). He is not counting on you to produce results. He is calling you to rest in Him (Matthew 11:28-29; John 15:4-5). Trust Him.
Learn. Become a student of the gospel message so that you can respond to someone asking the question, “how can I be saved?” Your focus should be on the content of the gospel and not on a technique. No one is going to be saved by your carefully memorized presentation, but by the power that resides in the simple message of the cross (1 Corinthians 1:18). Consider asking your pastor to lead a basic evangelism training session for all ministry leaders.
Connect. As you serve in the church, notice the people God brings into your area of ministry. Greet them warmly. Try to learn their names and identify their family members. Invite them to sit with you in worship services or to join you at lunch. Every effort you make to connect with someone can potentially create many new and unexpected opportunities for spiritual conversations!
Care. Luke made a powerful observation about Jesus when he wrote that “all the tax collectors and sinners were approaching to listen to him” (Luke 15:1). Why did so many secular and irreligious people feel so drawn to Jesus? They felt loved and cared for when they were around Him. They wanted to hear anything and everything He had to say! Similarly, as we genuinely care for the hard-to-love personalities God brings near to us, He will give us remarkable opportunities to share the gospel.
What happened to the young woman who was saved through the choir ministry? When the school year ended, she returned to her home country. As a fearless and vibrant witness for Christ, she was able to lead her parents and others in her family to the Lord. Notice that she didn’t connect with all the ministries of our church… just one. But it was enough, because it was a gospel sharing ministry!
For further reading:
Laurie, Greg. Tell Someone: You Can Share the Good News. Nashville, TN: B&H Books, 2016.
Scroggins, Jimmy and Steve Wright. Turning Everyday Conversations into Gospel Conversations. Nashville, TN: B&H Books, 2016.
(Written to encourage deacons, this article was originally published as “How Every Ministry in the Church Can Be a Gospel Sharing Ministry” in the Spring 2020 issue of Deacon Magazine, a publication of LifeWay Christian Resources.)