God’s Armorbearer & The Ministry of Details

And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. -1 Corinthians 12:28 KJV.

The ministry gifts such as apostles, prophets, evangelist, teachers, and pastors receive much acclaim and recognition, as it should be. The Body of Christ needs every office set in the Church by God. However, there is a ministry not mentioned as much also set in the Body by our Lord. That is the ministry of helps. There is an important place for the minister of helps.

How would the church manage without the hands that help with the details? When something practical needs to be done, a person anointed to help steps in and sees to it that the job is completed. God is practical and good and so are they that help.2 The behind-the-scene jobs in the church often go unrecognized. Yet the humble tasks are the ones we benefit from the most.

There are faithful people who maintain the grounds, clean our church, make repairs, do plumbing, assist with the administration, type bulletins, usher, greet, watch babies, make sure the sound and electronics work smoothly, make snacks and food for the church, do dishes or simply help with the details. Praise God for those serving in the ministry of helps.

Through Scripture, we know God placed ministries in the church, not man. 9 A person should not enter the ministry just because someone told them they were suited for it. Let God call you and place you where He wills.10 I encounter many who say, “I’m called to preach.” Yet they do not start with the small God puts before them to qualify them for their calling. When you are answering your call to serve, consider God may want you to spend a season in the ministry of helps before He matures you to your ministry office.

Remember Stephen and Phillip, who started in the ministry of helps but later operated as evangelists? They were faithful to help where God assigned them first.11 Also, I must mention that there were five others assigned to help. There are no other references of them in the Bible. I believe they continued faithfully serving in the ministry of helps.

If you are uncertain of your call to the ministry of helps, ask God to confirm your calling. Apostle Peter admonishes us to be diligent with proving that we really are called and chosen by the Lord.12 Give all diligence to exercising and developing His virtues the fruit of the Spirit (listed below), so that you may be effective and productive in your gifts and calling:

oFaith. Exercise your faith at every opportunity. Faith pleases God. Everyone receives a measure of faith to function within whatever gift God has graced him. He whose gift is practical service, let him give himself to serving according to the proportion of his faith.13

oVirtue. After exercising your faith, develop virtue, which is spiritual excellence. Daniel, in serving God and exercising his faith, developed an excellent spirit. So much so that he and his fellow Jewish slaves were found ten times better in all respects than the others assigned to the Kings’ service.14

oKnowledge. In developing an excellent spirit, add knowledge. Get to know your Heavenly Father. As we know Him better, we are sure to discover our destiny and what He wants us to do step by step. Paul wrote to the saints in Ephesus, “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better.” 15

oSelf-control. In exercising knowledge, develop self-control. We live in a world of steadily decreasing self-control. The number of road rage incidents is evidence to that. More than half of U.S. Adults are over-weight.16 Many suffer from lack of control in eating habits. Drug abuse and overdose have increased beyond what our ancestors would recognize. In gaining self-control, more and more we learn to put aside our own desires so that we may fulfill God’s desires.

oPatience. When allowing the Holy Spirit to help you gain more self-control, add patience. I overheard a teacher’s advice to his student, “Never pray for patience, because you will get lots of problems with opportunity to learn patience.” The student’s reply was, “I don’t believe that God would send me problems to teach me anything.” Look in on what the Apostle Paul writes the Roman Christians, “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us–they help us learn to be patient. And patience develops strength of character in us and helps us trust God more each time we use it, until finally our hope and faith are strong and steady.” 17 What do you think of the teacher’s advice?

oGodliness. As you develop patience, put aside your own desires in an increasing measure, so that God may have His way with you in godliness. The Apostle Peter wrote the Jewish Christians and now us, “Obey God, because you are His children; don’t slip back into your old ways–doing evil because you knew no better. However, be holy now in everything you do, just as the Lord is holy, who invited you to be His child. He Himself said, ‘You must be holy, for I am holy.'” 18

oBrotherly affection. When practicing godliness, develop brotherly affection. Love one another with brotherly affection–as members of one family–giving precedence and showing honor to one another.19 Love the brotherhood of believers.20 Pray for God’s people with strong purpose. As you pray for the Body of Christ, interceding on their behalf, your concern will become Christ’s compassion. Your hands and feet will become Christ’s members, reaching out to the saints. Your affection will become Christ’s love flowing through you for His Church.21

oLove. When praying for the church in brotherly affection, finally add love. Let love guide your speech and actions. In my B.C. before Christ days, I would often hurt others by just bluntly telling them the truth. If anyone would say anything to me about it, I would respond with, “Well, it was the truth!” After meeting Christ, I continued with this speaking the truth. But each time I did, I would feel so miserable, I was compelled to apologize. Later, after prayer, the Holy Spirit instructed me I could speak the truth, but in love. I discovered that truth in love is often silent. Let love guide your actions. The Apostle John wrote to his friends in the faith, “Little children, let us stop just saying we love people; let us really love them, and show it by our actions.” 22 Let love guide your life. Grow to love more and more.

The more we add and develop these qualities in our life, the more useful and fruitful we will be to our Master, Lord Jesus. We will become the special vessels prepared and ready for the Master’s use. In Paul’s second letter to Timothy, he encourages us to be like the expensive dishes in God’s house, “If you stay away from sin, you will be like one of these dishes made of purest gold–the very best in the house–so that Christ Himself can use you for His highest purposes.” 23

Career Benefits of an Online Bachelor of Ministry Degree

Colleges are offering a growing diversity of bachelor of ministry degrees online, but it can be a bit confusing trying to choose the one that’s right for you. That’s because ministry is an area with a vast range of career opportunities, some of which are well paid and include benefits, and others which are part time or even done on a volunteer basis. At the same time, a big increase of new options in youth ministry, worship leadership and other specialized areas has occurred as all sorts of Churches have grown larger and more complex. Colleges and universities have jumped in to offer more and more specialized ministry degrees to prepare graduates for those jobs.

A Job and a Calling
Many people take courses or even full degrees in divinity, theology or ministry mainly for personal enhancement. But if you wish to pursue the ministry as a real career, you should expect to find a very wide array of salaries and job descriptions. A denomination that has only recently been founded and wants to grow from a base of 75 or so members may need only a part-time minister, and be able to pay just $30,000. or so per year. In that situation, the minister would probably need to hold another job (which is not unusual), and that could be tough if the new Church is a remote rural environment.

On the other hand, a job as a senior minister or head pastor at a large Church with more than 2,000 members could pay more than $75,000. per year and include a full package of benefits. Bachelor of ministry degrees online are designed to prepare a graduate to get on a career path to this type of job, though most ministers of large congregations will add a master’s degree to their resume before they are hired for this type of position.

Diverse Job Opportunities
Even if you don’t get, or perhaps don’t want, the job as a head minister, there are growing opportunities in specialized jobs, particularly in larger churches. Directors of youth ministry, family ministry and even musical directors for Church services are all needed, and there are specialized degree programs designed for each.

A degree can also prepare you to work outside the traditional Church environment, as a missionary, a religious scholar, a counselor working in prison, hospital or other institutional environments or even a non-profit organization with a religious underpinning.

Degree Holders Abound
Churches that have job positions to fill are obviously interested in a candidate’s religious commitment as much as his or her educational background. It’s certainly possible to get hired in a smaller Church without a college degree. But larger Churches tend to lean more toward candidates with advanced training. That’s partly because there is such a large number of applicants today who do possess a bachelor’s degree. Unfortunately, you can tend to stand out in a negative way if you don’t have one.

Choice of Denominations
While there are many non-denominational Churches and degrees offered schools not affiliated with any particular Church, you should consider whether or not you’re focused on working with a particular Church. There are numerous schools operated by Baptists or The Churches of Christ, for example. If you wish to do your ministry work with one of them, it’s not a bad idea to consider getting your degree from a college that’s affiliated with them. Catholic Churches, in particular, like to bring in people who have attended a Catholic college. The picture is a bit different with the broad range of Evangelical, Bible and other religious schools out there, but if you choose a school with a direct connection to the denomination you are interested in, it can help you get your foot in the door a bit more quickly.

Most Churches who are hiring for pastoral or other jobs will want to see that a job candidate has real experience working in a Church environment, regardless of what degree he or she has. If you’re an adult who is currently doing that kind of work either on a paid or volunteer basis, an online ministry degree can enhance your career without forcing you to stop working while you study. And the personal satisfaction you can obtain from bachelor of ministry degrees online can have a high value, wherever they lead you in your career.