Christianity 201

July 12, 2013

The Ministries of the Local Church

I found this outline in one of my son’s youth ministry textbooks, Four Views on Youth Ministry, published by Zondervan in 2001. This was from an article by Malan Nel of Vista University in South Africa. What I’ve done here is strip out the youth and children’s ministry references to focus on some core definitions.

First, some scripture verses to frame this discussion:

(NIV) Ephesians 4:11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up…

(NIV) I Corinthians 12:28 And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues?  Do all interpret?

(NIV) I Corinthians 12:20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!”

Kerugma – preaching

[usually rendered as kerygma in North America] Through kerugma, God comes to the congregation….Of course, the better the preacher’s textbook delivery and dynamics, the more relevant the message will be… Modern insights in homiletics — insights that emphasize the dialogical character of the sermon — all these make the sermon that much more meaningful…

Leitourgia – worship service

The gathered congregation is the basic form of the functioning of the congregation and its ministries. Where people…enter into the presence of God.  If this mode has stagnated as a result of unchanging liturgical agendas, the fault is not in the leitourgia mode itself, the fault should be identified and corrected in a practical theological way in the subdiscipline of liturgy.

Didache – teaching

[Joining] on the road to Yahweh. Initiation into, guidance along, and wise choices for living on the way are part of the congregational ministry…  Like other modes of ministry, didache seldom if ever occurs in isolation. It emphasizes that the congregational didache becomes part of the edification… and training… of the people of God to ably represent him as his people in this world.

Paraklesis – pastoral care

God is with us in all circumstances and situations — in anxiety, pain, sin, doubt, error, weakness, loneliness and success.  …God is with us to free us from the constraints of brokenness that threaten us. Paraklesis wants to lead us out of a life of imperfection and into a life of wholeness in spite of and in the midst of all the brokenness within and around us.

Koinonia – mutuality

Closely related to paraklesis, the mode of God’s coming to people through others is built on this truth: God is with people by means of each other, because in Jesus he came to us in flesh. Through the indwelling of the Spirit, people can live and discover their humanity through one another.  About this there is little doubt: Christians are people for one another and are the people of God in their togetherness.

Diakonia – service

…In scripture… the term is used to show that individuals find the fulfillment of their calling in service. Diakonia, therefore, is the umbrella term for all that the congregation does, for all its ministries. …The term refers to an activity performed out of love of God for the sake of one’s fellow man — so much so that it is called a service of love. It is easy to understand how the term changed to refer mainly to the ministry of care; in acts of caring and deeds of mercy the diakonia finds special expression.

Marturia – witness

The church is to be understood in missionary perspective, not because it is the primary activity of the church, but because we know that God is constantly involved in bringing wholeness — that is, salvation — to his  creation. The missio Dei includes the missio ecclesia. The congregation participates and is involved in the missio Dei, and in this way: The church is not the one who sends, but rather the one who is sent. This sentness is therefore not one of the results of being a church, but a prerequisite. It is the character of a true church.

Kubernesis – administration

The ministry of the management and administration of the congregation is usually explained with a helmsman [ie. nautical] term, cybernesis. The early church was often contemporarily described as a ship with Christ himself as the helmsman. This cybernesis ministry is related to a strongly pastoral term for leadership, used in Romans 12. It connotes a pastoral ministry of care and empathy, which was the duty of the leading members of the early church. This ministry is about caring guidance in the name of the Helmsman, and implies an orderly and appropriate journey toward a destination (I Corinthians 14). The unity and the edification of the congregation should be served in this way.

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