For my practicum class last semester I had to propose a theology of ministry and its connection with the Missio Dei (mission of God). It is a seven page paper, but I’m going to use 7 posts so that it is not all jumbled into one. So please read it in its entirety (5 posts) so that you can understand my process of thinking and arrival of the practical outworking in my theology. I would appreciate any thoughtful comments and criticisms in order to spur on good conversation.
Our lives with God begin by faith, by believing God exists and trusting in the work, sacrifice, and resurrection of Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, our ministry and love for God and people must reflect and demonstrate our living faith in the triune God of holy love. Hebrews 11, which speaks of the ancients of faith such as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses, verses 13-16 say:
“All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country- a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.”
This passage really establishes the eschatological hope of Christian’s calling to participate in ministry through faith even when you can’t see God working in his promises, and to see ourselves and ministry in light of our heavenly citizenship and reward versus our earthly residence and possessions. Hebrews 12:2-3 considers how and why through Christ we keep persevering in the race of faith, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
My proposal for a theology of ministry is that every personal and corporate point of participation with the mission of God (Missio Dei) to the Church and the world through a specific calling must be done with a living faith, out of love for God and others, and because we are looking forward eschatologically to the hope of the fully consummated Kingdom of God. I will demonstrate this in further detail by discussing three topics: 1) the importance of knowing and experiencing God’s character, 2) the mission of God as it relates to salvation history (Heilsgeschichte), and 3) the calling of God in relationship to the leaders and people of God.