Part Two - Summoned and Equipped by God: Chapter 6 - Ministry - Transcending Clericalism
Ministry is Trinitarian in nature. In the third section of Chapter 6, Stevens reflects on the Trinitarian nature of ministry.
There is ministry in God; God is ministry.
Ministry is not a mere human activity. There is mutual service rendered within God the Trinity. “Ministry is of God not merely for God.” It “…is relational, characterized by love. It is both unitive and creative, as well as redemptive and curative.” (141)
God’s ministry is invested in the whole people of God.
We are made one in Christ (John 17). Stevens writes:
We may carefully speak of the laos of God not so much as a Christocratic community, as Kraemer does, but a ‘Christodiakonic’ community (if I may be allowed to coin a word). It is the people of God through whom God continues to serve through Christ in the power and presence of the Spirit. It is both kenotic (self-emptying) and ek-static (taking one outside of self). It is ministry by God, for God and to God. Such a ministry under the New Covenant makes the whole people of God the true ministerium. (142)
(That is a mouthful but it is very rich.)
Ministry is characterized in love.
Ministry for the people of God is not a delegated activity but derived, participatory and perichoretic. Ministry is God continuing his own loving service in and through his own people ‘incorporating our servant-existence in Himself and incarnating among us the self-giving of God in sheer love and compassion to mankind.’ (quote portion is T. F. Torrance) (143)
Ministry seeks the blessing of creation through incarnation.
The nature of mission is not found in the Church’s addressing the world but in it being full in com-passion with it. (Quoting John Zizioulas) (144)
Ministry is eschatological.
The church ministers not only in the ‘now’ of the Spirit but in the ‘not-yet’ of the full coming of the Kingdom. It looks for, lives for, longs for and serves in view of the full irruption of the Kingdom at the second coming of Jesus. As such its goal is not only souls saved for eternity but the renewal of all creation under the headship of Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:22; Col. 1:19-20). (144)
I think that is enough to dwell on for one post.