On Mission or Ministry?

Don’t you just loathe those two words? They’ve been so overused and abused that they’ve lost their meaning.

ON MISSION

If you believe in a hope that convicts you and you want to share that hope with others, you’re on mission. You’re purpose in being on mission is to have your audience absorb and accept the hope that you’re offering. The audience, when you’re on mission, are people who don’t believe in your hope or the people that don’t know the hope that is within you. 

ON MINISTRY

Ministry is the act of serving others out of the overflow of your hope or what you’ve based you’re life on. You can minister to those who don’t share your hope and you can also minister to those who do.

Unlike ministry, however, you cannot be on mission with those who already share and believe in your same hope. That’s called fellowship. 

WHEN IT’S NOT THE SAME

Often times organizations propel a belief that when they minister to those who are already convinced of their shared hope that they are on mission. The events, conversations, and gatherings that they organize, intentionally or unintentionally, bring people together who all share the same hope. 

WHY DOES THIS MATTER?

If you’re going to steward resources, people, time, and energy to advocate a hope that is within you, you need to take serious inventory of what is actually happening with your conversations and gatherings. If you’re not around those who need to hear of the hope that is within you, then you’re not on mission. Ministry is great for training, community, encouragement, and care but it needs to prepare and ready people for mission. 

So that you don’t waste your time, you need to organize your ministry to advocate mission and prepare people to share and or receive the hope that you profess. 

Looking back on a year of being on mission, you need to determine if your ministry has moved people to share their hope, convince others of your hope, and caused new believers to replicate the process. 

If not, stop meeting in the same way that you have. You run the risk of having a misled, confused, apathetic, and dying group that is addicted to need and internal problem solving or crisis resolution. That’s not mission or ministry that’s management.

I fear that most churches have come to the end of good intentions with nothing more than a foundation built on management. The people who want to be on mission can find nothing within the organization that enables them or empowers them to share their hope. They can only take care of the already convinced.

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Chad Swanzy
Chad Swanzy has served in youth ministry for 15 years and currently works as the student ministry director at Gateway Community Church in Austin, Texas. Learn more from Chad and ask him your questions at ChadSwanzy.com.

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