Ministry: Our Source of Competence

Every disciple of Christ is called to ministry; it is a calling for everyone. Our response to that call, however, usually involves either feelings of inadequacy or self-sufficiency:

(1) Some disciples feel inadequate to be serving on behalf of Christ. Whether because of limited education or lack of experience, these disciples often feel as if someone else could do a better job. They are constantly second guessing themselves.

(2) Other disciples feel fully prepared to be serving. Because of their training, experience, or resume, these disciples know what ministry is all about. They have learned some successful tools of ministry and know what they need to be successful.

We tend towards one extreme or the other, yet both are equally treacherous. In both cases, the minister subtly places confidence in himself. Success (or failure) is dependent on what a person knows or does.

Paul had a strikingly different view of ministry. Our confidence, wrote Paul, “is ours through Christ. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.” (2 Cor. 3:4-5) Unlike many, Paul never boasted about his talents or ministry accomplishments. He gave total credit to God.

Paul’s attitude, although foreign to our entrepreneurial culture, is realistic. We are nothing in ourselves, and we do not deserve to claim anything for ourselves. Our competence comes from God alone.

The idea that God “has made us competent” is more powerful than some of us may like to accept. It means that anyone — anyone — regardless of their background, can be a minister. Ministry has little to do with us, but everything to do with Him. Once we get over our own personal feelings, this powerful truth can elevate us to new heights in ministry.

So in response to His Word, may God grant us the humility that we need for effective ministry — that we would see ourselves as completely incompetent apart from Christ — and may He empower us with unspeakable confidence in Christ to accomplish more than we could ever imagine on our own.