Twelve Standards of Christian Ministry


I.    “Ministry” shall be defined as a service on behalf of one that impacts another.  “Christian ministry” then shall be defined as “That ministry which personifies Christ’ ministry, demonstrating His conduct and producing His results.”  This requires use of His tools, specifically 1) faith in 2) the Holy Spirit; the source of His strength and direction. On any level of order, empowerment and guidance from the Holy Spirit requires: a) knowing and accepting the obvious truth, b) living in ongoing, unconditional, radical, emotional love with God, both always and at times of purposed solitude, and c) unabashed obedience to whatever the Spirit directs.  These were demonstrated by Christ’s life. (Josh 1:8; Ps 15:1-3; Mt 9:29; 14:23; 23:23; Mk 1:35; Lk 5:16, 20; 17:6; 22:32; Jn 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7; Rom 1:20; 5:8; 8:14; 1 Cor 1:18-30; 13; Gal 5:15-17; Eph 4:12-16; 6:18; Heb 6:10; 11:6)

II.   God, who created man, and is the original of which man is the image, gave us His Word to function as a written guide for living.  This guide is the Bible, and must be held as the highest form of God’s revelation to man because of Whom it originates from.  The Bible’s nature is complex and profound, reaching far beyond human understanding, and thus, requiring good science to interpret it.  So, while all Christian theology must stand on Scripture alone, the use of good secular science in Christian living is also vital.  This eventually concludes, among other truths, that Jesus of Nazareth is, in history, who He claims He is in the Bible. (Gen 1:26-27; Is 55:8-9; Mt 16:16-17; Mk 1:1; Jn 3:36; 20:31; Rom 1:20; 8:34; 1 Cor 15:1-28; 2 Tim 3:16-17; 2 Pt 1:20-21; Jam 3:9; Rev 22:18-19)

III.  The summary of the Bible’s instruction is given in Christ’s command to love God with every part of one’s being and to love thy neighbor as thyself.  Since these were both rooted in love, love, therefore is to envelope every aspect of a Christian’s life.  In technical form, this means radical emotional love for the Creator / Savior and trailed by a subsidiary love for humanity. This command had no exceptions. (Lev 19:18; Deut 6:5; Micah 6:8; Mt 10:34-40; 22:37-40; Mk 12:29-34; Lk 10:25-28; Rom 2:11; 3:25; 5:8; 1 Cor 13; Heb 2:17; 1 Jn 2:2; 4:10)

IV.   Humans, being the fallen image of God, are in need of redemption on two levels: eternal and temporal.  The eternal is dealt with on the basis of Christ’s work on the Cross and applied to the individual only through faith in Christ and His work.  The temporal dilemma is a matter of personal maturity, attained through unshackled obedience to God’s commands.  As the temporal state can never reach its greatest possible fulfillment without the eternal state having been dealt with, these two must remain interdependent while separate in distinction. (Gen 1:26-27; 3; Josh 1:8; Ps 119:32, 105; Jn 3:6-21; 10:10; Eph 2:1-10; Rom 3:25; 5:12-17; 8:18-24; Heb 2:17-18)

V.    The Bible-based conclusion called “priesthood of all believers” has two components: 1) That each Christian has obtained instant, direct access to the Father through faith alone in Christ alone of Scripture alone, and 2) that all such Christians are a) capable and b) called to Christian ministry.  Ministry, in its most optimal sense, can exist in the life of each Christian.  This means that there is no distinction in value, responsibility, and effectiveness in ministry, whether it comes from an organization, an individual, a pope, a pastor, or a pauper. (Mt 5:16; 28:18-20; Jn 3:16, 18; Rom 5:2; 15:16; 1 Cor 11:1; Eph 2:8-10, 18; 3:12; Phil 2:15; 2 Tim 3:16-17; 2 Pt 1:20-21; Rev 22:18-19)

VI.    God-given to each human is the desire for progressive legacy and achievement, pointing glory to God.  Christians who do not cultivate this desire in all areas of their lives are apt to exploit their ministries for such purposes, hence, greed enters Christian living.  Therefore, it is best that Christians have a clear-set secular expanding legacy and view it as a vehicle for their personal ministry to have a presence through.  This is separate from a volunteer-based gathering of the saints or organized ministry.  So, the human dilemma’s solution calls each person to constantly expand in obedience to Biblical ethics, both in the secular world and in volunteer Christian service. (Gen 1:28; 9:1; Josh 1:8; Ps 37:4; Mt 5:13-16; Jn 10:10; 13:34-35; 17:14-19; Eph 1:17-19 Phil 2:15; 4:8; Heb 10:24-25; 12:14)

VII.    Ministry is ordained by God alone.  Government is never a source in life—either of goods or income, benevolence or charity, ministry or morality.  And business can be a means of, but is not, itself, a Christian ministry.  God alone is the source of life; and Christians—both individual and together—can choose to or not to be His vessels to promote redemptive and eternal life.  Christians, therefore, whether individual or organized, while obtaining useful licenses and collaboration of efforts with non-Church entities, must never, in regards to Christian ministry, become dependent on any licensure, funding, permissions, powers, or exertion of force except that which is granted by God Himself. (Ex 20:3; 30:34; Deut 6:4; Mt 4:4; 22:21; 2 Cor 5:20; Eph 4:1-12)

VIII.  Since Christian living and ministry are administers of life and progress, whether personal or corporately organized, they must produce more ideas, human energy, finances, and equity than they consume.  (Ecc 12:14; Mt 25:14-30)

IX.     A healthy Christian body best exists as a unified team of many Spirit-lead, creative, progress-seeking peers.  This team’s success requires overseers who serve to empower those they oversee, and prohibits concentrated, centralized power among a few individuals, no matter how selfless, moral, and well-meaning they may be.  Effective, corporately organized ministry occurs when the leadership understands this and meets, but does not exceed, its mandate of empowering through position. (Mk 9:35; 10:29-31; Lk 13:30; 1 Cor 12:18-26; Eph 4:1-23; 5:18; Phil 2:3; Col 4:1; 1 Tm 3:1, 13)

X.      To be like Christ is itself ministry because His ministry was demonstrative.  To be Christ-like is to live the blessed life offered to humanity starting with one’s self, and spreading this to others.  One cannot minister or curse another without doing the same to his or her self.  Consequently, constructive thoughts, feelings, emotions, actions, and ideas are part of the ministerial role of Christians in all circumstances. (Pr 23:7; Jn 10:10; Mt 5:14-16; Lk 1:76-80; Rom 5:8; Gal 6:7; Eph 4:15, 29; Phil 2:3-4, 14-16; 4:8; 1 Jn 3:7)

XI.    Christian ministry is an issue of cooperation between the body, its leadership, and God.  Thus, when either the body or its leadership is found to be inadequate, the other is obligated to seek a replacement. Whether a soul is following the heart of God remains for God alone to determine and especially for Him alone to state.  Necessary conflict, therefore, should be taken up through clear resolve, without slander, using constructive, yet accurate, communication. (Mt 18:15ff; 1 Cor 12:18-26; Eph 4:1-23; 1 Tm 5:19; Jude 9)

XII.    The issue in qualifications for leadership is not accountability to mankind, but accountability to God.  This accountability includes due diligence in the areas of research on the candidate, Bible, and personal direction from God.  Overseers must choose leadership wisely under the pretenses that they must give an account to God for whom they appoint, based on the information and opportunity available to them. God alone, not human leadership, is responsible and capable of preserving the purity and unity of His Church. (Ecc 12:14; Col 3:23-24; 1 Tm 3:1-13; 2 Tm 2:15; 4:1-4; Heb 13:20-21; Jam 3:1; Jude 24)