Our unselfish service should especially be rendered through our spiritual gifts, which are given by God to the saints in order that they might minister to one another <1 Pet. 4:10>. These gifts consist of both spiritual and practical gifts <1 Cor. 12:28>. They are distributed to various members of the church so that the union of believers can be expressed in loving service. In <Ephesians 4:7-11> the offices of apostles, prophets, evangelists, etc., are described as divine "gifts" to the church. This is the one place where the officers of the church might be linked with the term minister. In a special way these officers do "minister" to the church-- the apostles through their inspired leadership; the prophets through their inspired preaching and even foretelling; the evangelists through their traveling missionary work; and the pastor-teachers through their service in local congregations. Yet their primary service was to equip all saints for ministry.

The concepts of minister and ministry must be broadened today to include all the members of a church. The common concept of the pastor as the professional minister must be discarded, because the biblical pattern is for him to be the one who trains the congregation for ministry. All the saints are responsible for loving and ministering in various ways to one another, using the spiritual gifts distributed to each by the Holy Spirit.

(from Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary)

(Copyright (C) 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers)

Click on the 'back' button to continue.