Updated: Mar 25
Jesus’ ministry methods are a subject of great interest to those concerned with effective ministry today. In the Gospels, we can see that Jesus carried out his ministry in a different way from the methods of his contemporaries. Jesus was not just a preacher of good news, but he was also a healer, a teacher, and a prophet who used various methods to reach out to his followers.
One of the essential features of Jesus’ ministry was his emphasis on relationships. Jesus was not just interested in preaching to the crowds but also in building relationships with individuals. He spent time with his followers, ate with them, and listened to their concerns. He showed them that he cared for them and was interested in their lives. Jesus was not just a distant figure but was intimately involved in the lives of his followers.
A unique aspect of Jesus’ ministry was his use of parables. Jesus used many parables to convey his message. In fact at one point the gospel of Matthew says "Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parable." These were short stories that illustrated a moral or spiritual lesson. Parables were an effective tool for Jesus to reach out to people who were not educated in religious matters. Through his parables, Jesus could communicate complex spiritual truths in a way that ordinary people could understand and relate to. They were also a sophisticated tool that hid the spiritual truth from those who did not have an "ear to hear". His parables may seem like stories for simpletons until viewed through God's perspective. Jesus’ parables were simple stories that used familiar images about everyday experience to convey much deeper truths.
Another essential aspect of Jesus’ ministry was his use of miracles. Jesus performed many miracles during his ministry, such as healing the sick, casting out demons, and feeding the multitudes. Miracles were an important part of Jesus’ ministry because they demonstrated his power and authority over the natural world. They also showed that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God. Also, Jesus typically used his miracles to meet the needs of desperate people demonstrating how God has compassion and love for those in need.
Jesus’ ministry also included his use of the Scriptures. He often uses Scripture to support his teachings frequently quoting from the Old Testament and interpreting their meaning for his followers. Jesus’ use of the Scriptures was significant because it showed that he was not introducing a new religion but was fulfilling the prophecies of the Jewish Scriptures. Through his use of the Scriptures, Jesus was able to show that his message was grounded in the traditions and history of God's people Israel. More significantly, as the Messiah, Jesus taught that the "Law and Prophets" were written allegorically to signify his mission and his person. Through the Holy Spirit the entire Old Testament is to be understood as a picture of the Messiah. That messiah is Jesus of Nazareth.
Another key feature of Jesus’ ministry was his emphasis on repentance and forgiveness. Jesus preached that people should repent of their sins and turn to God. He also taught that God was a God of forgiveness who was willing to forgive those who repented. Jesus’ emphasis on repentance and forgiveness was significant because it showed that he was not just a moral teacher but also a spiritual leader who was concerned with the eternal destiny of his followers.
Jesus’ ministry was also characterized by his emphasis on love and compassion. Jesus taught that people should love their neighbors as themselves and that they should show compassion to those in need. Jesus’ emphasis on love and compassion was significant because it showed that he was concerned not just with people’s spiritual needs but also with their physical and emotional needs. Jesus’ ministry was not just about preaching but also about caring for people.
Finally, Jesus’ ministry includes his emphasis on the kingdom of God. Jesus preached that the kingdom of God was at hand and that people should repent and believe in the gospel (the good news). The kingdom of God was not just a future reality but was also a present reality that could be experienced by those who followed Jesus. Through his emphasis on the kingdom of God, Jesus was able to show that his message was not just about personal salvation but also about God's desire for a radical transformation of society both now and in the future.
In conclusion, Jesus’ ministry was characterized by his emphasis on relationships, parables, miracles, Scriptures, repentance and forgiveness, love and compassion. Those of us doing ministry today should carefully examine and seek to emulate how Jesus reached people with the good news about the Kingdom of God.
Let's look at how Jesus did ministry and compare that to how we do ministry. Are there any lessons from his example that could help us be more effective servants who "feed his lambs"?
I strongly encourage you to participate by making your thoughts available to others in the comments. In order to comment you have to sign in and join the blog as a member. Your comments will encourage, educate, spark inspiration. Thoughtful comments will also allow you to gain more from the study by engaging your mind and heart in an active way.
How did Jesus build relationships?
Spent time with disciples
Woman at the well
Other good examples?
What are a few ways that we build relationships in our church?
Potluck and eating together
Pre and post service conversations
Can you think of other ways we build relationships?
List some ways we could improve our relationships
Make your list in the comments below!!
Why are parables an effective ministry tool?
Power of the "story"
Makes you think a little bit
A way of saying it without having to say it
What might be a modern equivalent for "speaking in parables"?
Advertising and marketing
Story board at church event
Your testimony as an "inspirational story"
Are miracles important for ministry today?
What function do they serve?
When is seeking a miracle not an act of Faith?
This generation seeks a sign....
What is your personal first hand experience?
No second hand stories please
What should be our attitude in this area?
Remain open to Gods ability to intervene
Pray and expect answers to prayer
Share your experience or testimony in this area in the comments. First hand accounts are the most powerful testimony.
How did Jesus use Scripture?
The greatest commandments
Peeling back traditions
You have heard it said but I say...
Revealing that Scripture is prophecy
Just as Moses raised a snake on a pole so the
Son of Man must be lifted up
How is Scripture used/misused in the church today?
How can we promote appreciation for Scripture?
Encouraging messaging (texts, blogs, signage)
Repentance and Forgiveness
Why did Jesus say "Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is near"?
A call to move back to God's vision for you and the larger society.
How do we do this?
stand courageous, draw near, be active
BE the message - outreach opportunities
Pregnancy help center
Support Missions (David and Margie)
More ministry outreach ideas we can easily do-
Potlucks, garage sales, food fairs, day at the park,
Better communication, marketing, signage
Better presentation (What does our "book cover" look like to the world? Winsome or worn out?)
Make your own list in the comments below!!
Maybe talk about just one outreach idea: how could we do it (do it better)? Is my suggestion sustainable given the makeup of our church family?
Love and Compassion
Jesus focused on the needs of people first. Later when the crowds were large he would reveal "hard sayings". Why do you think he approached ministry this way?
What is the difference between ministry and manipulation?
For my sake vs for the sake of others
Make some suggestions how we could show our love and compassion for those in our community.
Try to think of approaches that are within our resources. Thinking outside the box is good. Maybe your crazy idea will spark others with good ones. You never know how the HS will use what you have if you act in Faith and depend on God to bring a harvest.
Divide into teams of 3-4
Create a list of 5-10 new ministry outreach ideas which:
*Promotes God's Word
-Encourage or teach life skills
* Shows compassion for others
Team leaders enter the list in the comments
and we will read them together
(Part of the exercise is use media as a tool for ministry)