Have you ever been challenged to write a “philosophy of ministry?” Recently I was asked to provide mine.
And while I know that I have one, I’ve never put down in words. So I prayed. And here it is.
PHILOSOPHY OF MINISTRY
“Hear O Israel. The Lord our God, the Lord is One! You shall love the Lord your God will all your heart,
with all your soul, with all your strength.” This is the Shema, the call from Moses in Deuteronomy 6:45.
Jesus took this to the next level when asked by the pharisees about the greatest commandment by adding
“Love you neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22, Mark 12 and Luke 10).
It is with this conviction that my philosophy of ministry resonates.
There are so many levels to examine here. First is the call from Moses. “Hear O Israel.” Jesus
often encourages us to listen… “he who has ears to hear, let him hear.” What Moses is about to tell
us is a big deal… “a bug in our ear,” if you will (from Randy Frazee, March 1, 2009). The big message:
The Lord our God is One. It is not a hierarchal structure that has God at the top with Jesus
underneath and the Holy Spirit a direct line from Jesus with a dotted line to God. God is One.
Jesus and the Holy Spirit were with God in the beginning and are with us today. Sometimes, it is a
challenge, and yet always a joy, to put our hearts and minds around this concept. God is Creator.
Jesus is our Savior. The Holy Spirit is our Comforter. All are One.
So, understanding that God is One, the next step is to love Him with all that we are. When we love
with our heart we give His love away. When we love with our soul, we look to what is eternally
significant, that which will last forever, the people in our lives. When we love with our strength, we
give ourselves completely, physically, showing our love through acts of worship, acts of service,
disciplines of prayer and Bible study.
When we have that covered, and our relationship vertically with our Abba Father is all right, thanks
to New Testament grace, Jesus takes us to the next level… take what you have in your relationship
with God to your neighbor. It starts with being neighborly, being kind, friendly, courteous,
engaging. Reaching out. Doing something that shows God’s love to those around us. Who are our
neighbors? Those we live with. Those we live near. Those we work with. Those who work for us.
Those who serve us, wait on us or pick up our trash. Anyone and everyone God puts in our path
day to day is our neighbor.
And I believe, we are created in God’s image by God Himself, a masterpiece of His hands, for good
works which He has prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:10). What are these “good
works?” Reaching and loving our neighbors. Why? So that by serving, reaching and loving our
neighbors, our neighbors will see Him and will come to know Him. And that’s what drives me,
knowing that “God wants all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (I
Finally, Jesus charges us all to make disciples (Matthew 28:19). It is a joy to walk alongside of
believers, new and old, to encourage them, to challenge them and to see them grow more and more