For the CAUSE: Making ministry a life long habit

The beginning of a new semester always brings us lots of decisions to make. One of the most difficult is what to be involved in this semester. Enactus? Blue? A new job? Extra tutoring? Small Groups? E-VAN? Intermural? So many options, so little time.

In making these decisions, something we often forget about is serving in ministry. It’s not as glamorous as playing sports or as beneficial for your career as being in a career-focused organization, but it may be one of the most important things you can be involved with during your college years.

But wait – we’re all in ministry already, right? We go to chapel, attend church and might be in a small group, too. But being ministered to is very different than serving in ministry. Think of going to church and growing in Christian community as being spiritually fed. We eat up God’s Word, and we grow and develop. But many of us never exercise. We are ministered to, but never minister to others. We take in, but never give out. We sit around, “growing together in Christian community,” and many of us end up fat. That can’t be right.

Look at the example of Jesus and his disciples. He doesn’t just let them sit around growing spiritually obese. As they “eat” and grow spiritually, they also “exercise” and serve in ministry. They’re with him, helping Him in ministry, even being sent out by themselves at times, preaching. They never just grow. Jesus makes sure that they always serve in some kind of ministry, too.

But wait a minute. Churches and SMLT and CAUSE leaders already do the ministry. They’re the special ones. They do it so we don’t have to, right? Nope. Ephesians 4:11-12 tells us that God “gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.” People with those glamorous or obvious ministry gifts aren’t the only ones God wants to serve in ministry. In fact, they exist to equip the rest of us! A pastor is not the only minister in a church. He equips a church full of ministers. It’s the rest of us that are “building up the body of Christ.” We all need to be serving in ministry. Just being ministered to is not enough.

But then there’s the question of time. We already have so many things in our days: class, church, friends, homework, sleep (hopefully), personal time with God and jobs. The calendar is already full! What if we don’t have time to be serving in ministry?

That’s where stewardship comes in. In 1 Corinthians 4:7 Paul asks us, “What do you have that you did not receive?” Everything we have – talent, money, possessions and time – comes from God and should be used for Him. We must be good stewards not only of our money, but also of our time. God doesn’t give us these things just to serve ourselves. We are given them to build Christ’s kingdom. Not just to enjoy life, but to enjoy Christ and serve Him! We must make time to serve in ministry.

We should also look at serving in ministry while in college as preparing for the future. The habits we set now will continue for the rest of our lives. If you don’t make time now, you probably won’t make time in the future. And for freshmen: you’re beginning your habits for the rest of college. Will you make serving in ministry a priority?

Your ministry will look different than mine or somebody else’s. It’s based upon your spiritual gifts. Maybe your ministry will look like discipling some students in your church’s youth group, or serving in children’s ministry one service a week at your church. Maybe you’ll serve in ministry through CAUSE, by spreading the Gospel through E-VAN, praying for missionaries through Partners in Prayer or leading children to Jesus through Child Evangelism Fellowship. Or maybe you have a new idea for sharing the Gospel of Christ – and you’ll start up a new CAUSE ministry or bring back an old one (like Voices of Justice).

But whatever your ministry looks like, you need to be doing it. God calls all of us to be involved in ministering to others – and to be ministered to ourselves. Check out how to serve in your church, or email CAUSE@jbu.edu to learn about ways to serve on campus.

Start serving now!