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You are a Minister!

I heard it said a long time ago that during his ministry here on earth, there were three primary roles that Jesus fulfilled as he went about birthing the Kingdom of God. 

I do not remember the source of this concept or even where I was when I heard it, but one of those comments struck a chord in my heart and has remained with me ever since. I want to credit the unknown person who shared this concept with me! I have built the following comments on his idea, even though I do not remember the context he originally shared them in.

The thought is this, throughout scripture, everything Jesus thought, said or did fulfill one of three ministerial roles. The role of Prophet, Pastor, and Priest. To lead like Jesus led, each one of these roles must be present in the ministry we exercise.

Jesus ministered prophetically when he delivered the Sermon on the Mount. He was speaking out against what was and speaking into what could be. To minister prophetically, whether by word or action, involves speaking God's truth in a situation and establishing the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus was an activist who wasn't afraid to speak against injustice, who was prepared to speak up and out for truth and add parameters around the Kingdom of God. The prophetic minister often has a bias towards action and enterprise. A prophet speaks or acts in a situation where the Kingdom of God does not currently exist. 

Secondly, Jesus was a Pastor, and his tenderness bound up the hearts, lives, and hurts of those who were broken. While the term Pastor in our society today is used as a "catch-all" for all ministry functions, the biblical model of a Pastor is someone who cares, carries, and loves people. These functions are crucial to ministry today, and in many ways, the credibility of the Church rests in our ability to care for the hurting because "they will know we are Christians by our love ." A pastor leads as a servant, invests in people, listens assertively, empathizes as he carries others' burdens, asks the right questions, and fulfills the law of Christ (Eph 6:3).

A great example of Jesus functioning as a priest comes just before his death as he goes before his Father and prays what is now known as his "High Priestly Prayer" (John 17). A Priest is someone who blesses, encourages, and empowers while taking spiritual responsibility for a situation or group. A priest, in many ways, humbly carries great spiritual authority and influence as his relationship with Christ pours onto others. In our insecure world that is looking for appropriate authority and affirmation, the role of the priest is incredibly important for a church, community, and city to have. Without fulfilling this priestly function, the Church is stifled in its influence.

 Each of these functions enhances the other, and there is much fruit. For too long, I made the mistake of functioning in just one of these roles. This reduces what Jesus wants to do through us, but it also doesn't help those we lead fulfill God's plans for them. The temptation is to function in one of these roles at the expense of the other. For most of those in ministry, the default tends to be the pastoral role. This is perhaps because of the culture of our congregations and because much of our training systems and expectations lean towards this. But, for the Kingdom of God to expand, we need to make sure that we are functioning more frequently in the roles of prophet and priest.

At different times in ministry, I realize that there are other roles we have to emphasize, but a healthy work week for a minister of the gospel involves a balance of these three roles in what we do. If we claim to follow Jesus as our ministry leadership model, we need to ensure that each of these three roles is fulfilled. Wisdom is required to discern which role we need to fulfill in any given situation and the skills needed to move quickly into one or another of these roles. 

If our goal as ministers of the gospel is to reflect Jesus, we need to make sure that these three roles are present in our life and ministry.

-      Which role are you most comfortable in?
-      Which role are you least comfortable with?
-      What can you do this week to ensure a balance between these ministry roles?

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