Ministry & "Ordo Servire"


Theology has an ordo salutis or "order of salvation."  Read more about it here. I suggest we consider an ordo servire, or "order of service."

Church itself is not the most important thing in my schedule, but God is.  I serve Him most effectively through being active in a local, healthy church.  

Notice the word "healthy" above. No church is perfect, but some churches are downright sick.  Signs of sickness: Wasting money, mishandling conflict, covering up sin, ignoring the community, and more.  It would be difficult to serve God in the best way in a church like that.  

A healthy church is key to your ordo servire, because it is a central hub of service to God and those around you.  For example, you shouldn't have to choose between church and family if everything is working together.

As we serve God in ministry, It's a given that He comes first.  That means my ordo sevire is:
1. God
2. Wife
3. Child
4. Extended Family
5. Local Church 
6. Community 
7. Self
8. Vocation

Here's 3 examples of how it all can work together:
  • By encouraging my family to attend a healthy church, I'm leading them as God leads me. (1-3, 5) 
  • By having a responsible relationship with the Lord on a personal level, I grow in my ability to relate to myself and others, (1-4, 6-8)
  • By giving 10% of my income to my healthy local church, I know they in turn give money responsibly to community and denominational ministries. (1, 5-6)
You can think of any combination of examples.  In short, when we put God 1st, everything falls into place. Christ says, 
"If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple." (Luke 14:16 NLT)
If this ordo servire doesn't quite work for you, Doug Sherman writes a challenging alternative, saying such thinking is from "another era."  Read it here.

What are your thoughts?  Can ministry even be broken down into a hierarchy?  Do these categories overlap? Should spouses, children, and families be lumped together?

(Image: About.com Miniatures)

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