The ministry is multi-faceted and necessitates the commitment and involvement of many people. In the Old Testament, literally thousands of people were involved in the varied services of the tabernacle, and later, in Solomon's temple in Jerusalem. Even in a small church today, there are many aspects of the ministry to oversee and perform.
Acts chapter six records an organizational meeting in the early church. "Now in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a complaint against the Hebrews by the Hellenists (Greek speaking Jews), because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution. Then the twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, 'It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables. Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business; but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.'"
The church in Jerusalem had thousands of people participating, and there was a daily food distribution program. When an administrative problem arose, the top leadership, the 12 apostles, evaluated the situation and called a meeting to delegate supervisory responsibilities to qualified disciples. This is the business of the church -- the work of the ministry. The selection of the seven men, including Stephen and Philip, brought about excellent results. "Then the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem."
All of the diverse physical behind-the-scenes workings of the ministry are to support the main purposes, which are preaching, teaching and training people in the Word and ways of God. The heart of the ministry is the Word of God, its truth, its message, its practical instructions. Jesus Christ commissioned His disciples, as recorded in Matthew 28:19, 20, Mark 16:15-20, Luke 24:47 and Acts 1:8. The electrifying book of Acts shows how these directives were successfully carried out with the dynamic power of God. About 3,000 people came to the Lord in chapter two, another 5,000 in chapter four, and multitudes in chapter five. This vital part of the ministry is called the ministry of reconciliation. "Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation." (2 Corinthians 5:18, 19)
The ministry of reconciling people back to God has been given to Christians. To reconcile means to bring back together that which has been separated. Christians have a message to deliver, to lead people to Jesus Christ, into the kingdom of God. The ministry is to work like a synchronized machine, so to speak, to offer safe passage from the secular world into a healthy household of God's people. It is called the ministry of the Spirit, the ministry of righteousness, the ministry of the saints. What a fantastic spiritual blessing!