Incarnational Ministry

Is our ministry an incarnational ministry? Paul believed that the one doing the ministry is the one who ought to make the needed cultural adaptions out of love for those who don’t know Christ. Paul taught that those he was free from all men, he made himself a slave to all, so that he may win more. To the Jews he became as a Jew, so that he might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law though not being himself under the Law, so that he might win those who are under the Law; to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, so that he might win those who are without law. To the weak he became weak, that he might win the weak; he become all things to all men, so that he may by all means save some. He did all things for the sake of the gospel, so that he may become a fellow partaker of it. (1 Co 9:19–23)

Why is it that when one considers the ministry these days, often much more emphasis seems to be placed on location, comfort, ease and potential for success? We need to recapture the truth that the call to ministry is a call to take up our cross and follow Christ. It is a call to be like Christ, who though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

An incarnation ministry is one where the minister and the church are willing to die to their own cultural comfort in order to live where and as God intends them to be. Truly, truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies it bears much fruit.’ In one sense, any call to ministry is a call to missions. Bishop Graham of Fresh Expressions lays it out this way: entering their world; taking it as seriously as they do; helping them to find Christ there. May Christ grant us the love and the power to be a glimpse of Jesus to others.

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