Everybody has a philosophy of ministry, that is, of how to proceed with the actual doing of Christian service to others. Just because we might not have a written statement on it does not mean no philosophy exists. Let’s think the thought that Jesus had a philosophy of ministry… which he did. If we take his words as being weighty, then perhaps he actually articulated what he believes about handling people. Contained in today’s Gospel lesson is the heart of Christ’s approach:
“Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness. If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.”
Here are several observations about Christ’s philosophy of ministry:
1. True faith is Trinitarian faith.
2. Jesus came to dispel darkness by deposing its ruler.
3. Jesus did not come to nit-pick or harangue people.
4. Jesus came to save the world.
5. Jesus has the authority to save the world.
6. Believing in Jesus brings salvation.
Folks who are into people-pleasing and angling for people-praise will actually not get judged by Jesus; they will be judged by the words of Jesus on the last day. This means that, for us, there really is neither a precedent nor a need to do the Spirit’s work for him. Instead, we believe in Jesus and allow our faith to shape our conversations with others. A philosophy of ministry does not need to be complex; it just needs to be Christ-centered.
Great God of deliverance, thank you that you sent your Son, Jesus, to save people from their sins. I believe in you and what you did and what you stand for. Each time I open my mouth, may you form my words so that they are not judgmental, but helpful in bringing others to faith. Amen.