The Unofficial Minister
It was the late 90’s. Pearl Jam, Coldplay, and Third Eye Blind played continually on Z100. Doc Martins and flannel shirts were standard attire. Portland was well on its way to attaining its status of “weird.” And I was in college at Lewis and Clark, right at the top of Palatine Hill.
I became best friends with Stephanie. We had a blast driving around the city in the middle of the night, mostly past the houses of guys we liked. Having procrastinated on our schoolwork, we pulled all-nighters in the library to get papers finished. And we talked about Jesus.
Stephanie wasn’t a Christian, but she was interested in learning more about him.
Then, during Christmas break, she placed her faith in Christ. She was so excited to tell me and, as classes started up again, she came to church with me. She was ready to learn more about the Bible and looked to me for instruction.
At the time, I did not feel qualified. Although I’d grown up in a Christian home and had learned a lot, I had never taught the Bible to anyone. Plus, it hadn’t been long since I’d left behind a life of sin. But here was my friend; she wanted to know more about Christ from the Bible. So, I began to disciple her.
I started by finding some good curriculum for us to work through together. We listened to sermons by Jack Miller on tape (yes…tape…this was old school), who taught about what it means to be adopted as children of God and filled with the Spirit. We discussed concepts like justification and sanctification, not shying away from the big, theological words, but finding simple ways to explain them. I taught her from the Bible, and we learned together that there is grace for salvation as well as transformation.
Nothing about this relationship and my teaching was official. Although I was under the authority of elders in our local church (which Jesus says is essential for everyone), I did not have a position in ministry.
Nonetheless, what I was doing was ministry. I was obeying Jesus’s command to go into all the world and make disciples. This was my first experience of “teaching” the Bible to someone else. It inaugurated discipling more women, teaching Bible study, training my children, and shepherding women. It may not have been official in anyone else’s eyes, but it was official in the eyes of Christ.
What about you?
Perhaps you are in the same place as I was right now. You’ve heard about Verity Forum, and some of the workshops sound interesting. Yet, you don’t self-identify as a certified teacher. We want to assure you that if you are teaching the Bible to someone else, you are an official minister. Your work for the Kingdom is legitimate.
Moreover, you (and I) need to be equipped to do it well. God is incredibly gracious to us in our weakness and limited knowledge, but we will never stop needing to grow in our knowledge about him from the Bible. Whether you are meeting casually with someone to talk about Scripture or you are leading a ministry of thousands, your Father has more to teach you.
It is our joy to offer you more tools at Verity Forum. Although you are welcome to take any workshop from any track, there are two tracks designed especially for the woman who doesn’t see herself as an official minister. “Gospel Ministry for Every Heart” will teach you and remind you of how the good news is not just the ABCs of Christianity, but also the A-Z. It will give you the content that you and others need for growth. “Discipleship for All” will help you in those one-on-one relationships, whether it is with your kids or a friend like Stephanie. We want these workshops to benefit you right where you are.
What you are doing in teaching the Bible to others is important and precious in the eyes of the Lord. He cares about the growth of one person just as much as he cares about the growth of many, and he doesn’t need you to have a title, a paycheck for ministry, or letters after you name. Your labor is official in his sight.