The Crucifixion of Ministry

I'm reading "The Crucifixion of Ministry" by Andrew Purves (trinitarian theologian at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary; pictured at left). He urges us to reframe our view of ministry in light of the gospel of our inclusion in Christ.

Rather than seeing ministry as "our ministry" we need to view it for what it truly is: a "sharing in the continuing ministry of Jesus Christ" (p. 11). This ministry is the work of the Father, in the Spirit, through Jesus for the sake of the church and all the world.  

This view of ministry as participation in the ongoing ministry of Jesus flows from "the classical Christian doctrines of our participation through union with Christ in his vicarious humanity and ministry.... Because ministry is what Jesus does, ministry is properly understood as gospel rather than law and as grace rather then obligation.... The first and central question in thinking about ministry [in this way] is Who is Jesus Christ and what is he up to? The answer leads to the second question: How do we get in on Jesus' ministry?" (pp. 12-13).

It is Jesus, in the Spirit, through whom the Father ministers. We must crucify any idea that this ministry "belongs" to us, or somehow "depends" on us. Rather, we rejoice that Jesus includes us in what he is doing, and we receive and faithfully steward the gifts and opportunities he provides for us, through his Spirit, for our active sharing in his ministry on earth.