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A Biblical Philosophy of Ministry

A Biblical Philosophy of Ministry

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Published by David Salazar
A Biblical Philosophy of Ministry
Dr. Rick L. Holland
Pastor, College and Student Ministries
INTRODUCTION
It has been said that if you aim at nothing you will hit it every time. To approach ministry without
proper and accurate aim is to miss the intent of the Scripture’s clear admonition to “set things in
order” (Titus 1:5) in the church. This seminar is intended to define and direct a biblical
philosophy, or approach, to ministry. The hope is to lay a foundation upon which our ministry can
find its mandate and mission.
A Biblical Philosophy of Ministry
Dr. Rick L. Holland
Pastor, College and Student Ministries
INTRODUCTION
It has been said that if you aim at nothing you will hit it every time. To approach ministry without
proper and accurate aim is to miss the intent of the Scripture’s clear admonition to “set things in
order” (Titus 1:5) in the church. This seminar is intended to define and direct a biblical
philosophy, or approach, to ministry. The hope is to lay a foundation upon which our ministry can
find its mandate and mission.

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Published by: David Salazar on Jan 14, 2009
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02/15/2013

 
A Biblical Philosophy of Ministry
Dr. Rick L. Holland
 Pastor, College and Student Ministries
INTRODUCTION
It has been said that if you aim at nothing you will hit it every time. To approach ministry without proper and accurate aim is to miss the intent of the Scripture’s clear admonition to “set things inorder” (Titus 1:5) in the church. This seminar is intended to define and direct a biblical philosophy, or approach, to ministry. The hope is to lay a foundation upon which our ministry canfind its mandate and mission.Hopefully, it is the goal of any church leader to have a ministry that honors God and accuratelyreflects His Word. First, the theology of ministry is outlined. In this section ministry is shown to be both born and grown by the Bible, the very Word of God. In other words, the biblicalconvictions that determine our approach to ministry must be the starting point to guide proper understanding of what it is we are to do in ministry.Second, the spiritual relationships to be cultivated are addressed as priorities in ministry. Simply put, there are only three: a relationship with God, with other Christians, and with unbelievers.The relativism of postmodernism has unfortunately found a welcome mat at the door of themodern church. Our prayer is that this “philosophy of ministry” will continue to point us towardGod and His truth. Our programs and events may change and grow, and come and go, but theframework of theology laid out in these pages is to be the plumb line that keeps us on track for the glory of God.
Theology of Ministry
~ The biblical convictions that determine and control our approach to ministry ~
The Foundation of Scripture
The Bible is the very word of God (2 Tim 3:16) and is therefore without error andcompletely trustworthy in all that it asserts. In a world of no absolutes, God’s Word stands asabsolute truth to be known and applied in every area of life. Scripture is the very foundation uponwhich the church is built and comprises not only the content of the message that the church proclaims but also the methods by which the church operates. Every decision and aspect of ministry must be submitted to the scrutiny of relevant biblical data. A ministry void of theteachings of Scripture will also be void of the blessings of God.
The Authority of Scripture
God is the ultimate authority in matters of faith and practice because of who He is.Therefore, He has the right to establish and command the standard for belief and practice. SinceScripture is the very Word of God, its message is absolutely authoritative for life and godliness (2Pet 1:3). As Wayne Grudem states, “The authority of Scripture means that all the words of Scripture are God’s words in such a way that to disbelieve or disobey any word of Scripture is todisbelieve or disobey God” (
Systematic Theology
, 73).The ramifications of the authority of Scripture upon a ministry are manifold. For example, the church is never to stray outside of the boundaries given in the Word of God. Every
 
aspect of ministry (whether a sermon, Bible study, program or activity) must be motivated by anunderstanding of the authority of Scripture and must bring that Scripture to bear upon the lives of  believers. Furthermore, since the Bible is completely authoritative for belief and practice, thechurch need not derive its methods from the culture of the day nor conform its message to thatwhich is acceptable in the eyes of the world. Rather, ministry must be dictated by principlestaught in Scripture itself.
The Sufficiency of Scripture
 The Scriptures are not only authoritative over every aspect of life and ministry; they arealso sufficient for the same. Second Timothy 3:16-17 states, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” The implications of this verse areastounding, for it asserts that the Word of God is sufficient for all areas of ministry, including preaching, teaching, and counseling believers unto godliness. Therefore, the primary focus of every sermon, Bible study, or counseling opportunity must be the teaching of Scripture. Any timethe church gathers, the emphasis must be on the proclamation of God’s Word and the exhortationto obey it (1 Tim 4:13).A ministry that believes in the sufficiency of Scripture will do everything possible to bring the Word to bear on the lives of the congregation. The sufficiency of Scripture demandsthat individuals as well as ministries be devoted to and trusting of the Word of God. In other words, a proper view of Scripture demands our obedience and our belief. It demands our affections, our faith, and our understanding.
The Glory of God
 The chief end of God is to preserve and display His infinite and awesome greatness,namely, His glory. In Isaiah 48:11, the Lord proclaims, “For My own sake, for My own sake, Iwill act; for how can My name be profaned? And My glory I will not give to another.” God’ssupreme purpose is to manifest His glory. God is jealous for His own glory and will not share itwith anyone.The glory of God is shown in at least four ways. First, God reveals His glory in creation.Psalm 19:1 says, “The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring thework of His hands.” Second, the glory of God is revealed in His Son, as taught in Hebrews 1:3:“And He [Christ] is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature” (cf. 2Cor 4:4). Third, the glory of God is manifested in salvation. Every aspect of salvation is “to the praise of the glory of His grace” (Eph 1:6, 12, 14). And fourth, God’s glory is revealed in His people. The apostle Peter urges believers to exercise their gifts in such a way “that in all thingsGod may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever andever” (1 Peter 4:10-11).If the ultimate goal of God is to preserve and display His glory, this too must be theultimate goal of the church. The glory of God thus becomes both the motivation for and the goalof a biblical ministry. When contemplating any aspect of ministry, the most pressing questionmust be, “Will this glorify God?” In this way, the glory of God becomes
the
limiting factor for the activities and programs of any ministry and is the primary criterion in making decisions.Furthermore, if a ministry is to display the glory of God properly, there must be the highest levelof excellence in its operation and in the programs it offers. With God as the audience and theglory of God as the goal, the activities of a ministry must always reflect the excellence of Hisname.
 
The Preeminence of Christ
 The Christian faith is inextricably linked to the person of Jesus Christ. Having existedeternally with God (John 1:1-15), Jesus is both the Creator (Col 1:18) and Preserver of all things(Col 1:17). In Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form (Col 2:9), because He is theexact representation of God’s nature (Heb 1:3). In His incarnation, the second person of theTrinity became flesh (John 1:14), and in His death and resurrection, He defeated sin and death (1Cor 15:54-57). Having purchased sinners with His own blood (Acts 20:28) and ascended in gloryto the right hand of the Father (Eph 1:20), Christ was exalted as head over all things, includingthe church (Eph 1:20-23; Col 1:18). He lives today as the way, the truth, and the life, and the onlyway to the Father (John 14:6), for to know Him is eternal life (John 17:3).Because of who He is and what He has done, Jesus Christ is to be preeminent in the lifeof the church. Not only is He the sole means of salvation (John 14:6; Acts 4:12), He is also the primary focus of sanctification. Christ is to be obeyed (Matt 28:20), He is to be emulated (1 John2:6), and He is to be proclaimed (Col 1:28; 1 Cor 2:2; 2 Cor 4:5). The church must submit to Hisheadship and exalt Him in all things (Eph 1:20-23; Col 1:18), whether through worship of His person, conformity to His character, or proclamation of His name. Simply stated, the church musthave a single-minded and passionate focus on the person of Jesus Christ.
The Ministry of the Holy Spirit
 In addition to His work of regeneration in the heart of the believer (John 3:6; Titus 3:5),the Holy Spirit serves as the Agent of at least six ministries in the life of the Christian. First, Heindwells the believer and thereby serves as a pledge of the believer’s future inheritance (Eph1:14). Second, the Holy Spirit fills the believer in that He influences and enables him to live anobedient and God-pleasing life (Eph 5:18). Third, the Spirit brings comfort to the hearts of thosewho are downcast (Acts 9:31). Fourth, He intercedes for believers when they don’t know when to pray (Rom 8:26-27). Fifth, the Holy Spirit produces in the believer love, joy, peace, patience,kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal 5:22-23). And sixth, He personally equips individual believers with gifts for service in the body of Christ (1 Cor 12:11).In light of the Spirit’s various ministries, the church must proceed with the humbleawareness that the Holy Spirit is the One who produces obedience in the lives of believers. He isnot only at work to bring sinners to Christ, but He is also the One who produces in them theChristlikeness that is the goal of every Christian. Therefore, one’s own pursuit of holiness, as wellany efforts to shepherd others toward holiness, must be permeated with a genuine and prayerfuldependence on the power of the Holy Spirit, for He alone is able to produce the character for which all believers are to so diligently strive.
The Depravity of Man
 The Bible teaches that man is not born into this world morally neutral, but rather that heis totally depraved. According to Scripture, the unregenerate man is unable to understand or accept the things of God (2 Cor 1:18; 2:14), his mind is depraved (Rom 1:21, 28; 3:11) anddefiled (Titus 1:15), and his understanding is darkened (Eph 4:17-18). His heart is continually andexclusively evil (Gen 6:5; Eccl 9:3), he is an enemy of God and a lover of wickedness (John 3:19-20; Rom 5:10; 8:7; Col 1:21), and his intent is to carry out the desires of Satan himself (John8:44). The unbeliever finds himself enslaved to sin and its various lusts (Rom 6:17, 20; John8:34; Titus 3:3) and unable to please God or do that which is truly good in His sight (Rom 3:12).He seeks not after God on his own (Rom 3:11) and therefore has no hope of doing anything to bring about his own salvation.That man is depraved means not that he always acts as wickedly as possible, but rather that wickedness so permeates his entire being that he is enslaved to it and is therefore inherentlyunable to respond to the Gospel in faith and repentance. This reality has profound implications for 

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