Why Be in Ministry?

In his book, Bishop, Will Willimon says, “The only good reason for anybody to be in ministry is theological.”

Why be in ministry? We’re in ministry because of who God is and what God has done in Christ. We’re in ministry because we’ve spent enough time with Jesus that we’ve learned to see people from Jesus’ perspective. Instead of just singing, “The world behind me, the cross before me,” we also sing, “The world before me and Christ is with me.” The more time we spend with Jesus the more the things that break his heart break our heart.

If there is no God, if God was not in Christ reconciling the world to himself, if the Son of Man did not come to seek and to save the lost and to give his life as a ransom for many, if Jesus did not die on the cross, bearing our sins, and then rise victoriously, defeating all the powers of sin, death and hell, then sure, there’d be no point to be in ministry. But if we believe those things – and I take those as pretty basic Christian convictions – ministry is the natural outcome.

But for whom? Just for those whose profession is ministry? Just for those who have the title? Not at all. If we’re with Jesus, ministry is the natural outcome. Period. Whether we be categorized as clergy or lay, whether we’re just starting on the road with Jesus or long-traveled, whatever our age or place in life, ministry is the natural outcome of responding to the call the echoes from Jesus’ life lived and given for us.

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