Ethics for Christian Ministry
by Joe E. Trull and R. Robert Creech
*If you are a Liberty University Student - this book is available in the Online Liberty Library: https://ebookcentral-proquest-com.ezproxy.liberty.edu/lib/liberty/detail.action?docID=5215207
Preface - Chapter 1
This book is what I would call a must read for any of us who already have a great knowledge of Christ and his word (or desire to have). Christian Ministry comes into play on a daily basis in anyone's lives - you do not have to be a Pastor or in the Church clergy to minister someone. You may be a good friend to a lost soul, trying to show them the road to salvation. You may be a humble delivery driver whom always shares Bible verses with customers. Either way, you are having an experience with Christian Ministry. This novel focuses on Christian Ministry advice and faults of those in clergy positions, however, it is my personal take away that anyone who studies God's word can learn from this.
In the preface I would like to share with you all a line that stood out to me, "Rightly or wrongly, churches formerly assumed Christian ministers were persons of integrity who could be counted on to be ethical. No longer is this presumption possible, if it ever were" (Trull & Creech, 2017)! Given the amount of trust you would be putting into a Christian minister to help you understand God's word and lead you in the right direction, the least they can do for us is be transparent. What I mean by that is; any flaws, mistakes, or problems they have faced in life should be spoken to you (within reason). A wonderful college professor of mine who teaches Theology, shared that advice with me, about transparency with ministry. This creates a relatable relationship between the two of you and allows you to understand the Christian Minister is no better or no worse than anyone else. They are simply further along in the Lord's teachings and are able to reach out a hand and aid you with their knowledge of the divine word.
Have you ever had a friend who seemed to have such a resistance toward's the Bible or God's word? Have you yourself felt that way before? Those are curious questions as I find they marry well with this sentence in chapter one, "All studies indicate that today's youth are often more skeptical of the country's institutions than the youth in the generations that preceded them" (Trull & Creech, 2017). I found I personally identified with this, a younger version of myself, of course. As a young teenager I was extremely opposed to churches and biblical teachings - I had thought they were corrupt. Growing up, I had seen mostly bad news, stories and articles of Preachers committing horrible crimes; church clergy guilty of association... I had not seem the good side, meaning, I had not seen real true examples. I had rarely been taken to Church during my childhood - my only knowledge of it came from the media, and only negative news had been shared. The youth's skepticism, unfortunately, exists for great reason. You will find this book of ours explains those in Christian leadership roles do not always follow God - some may follow their own corrupt path. We as Christians saved by the blood of Jesus Christ, must know the difference between the divine word and those who are corrupt. I am here to tell you, the Bible holds all the truth humanity shall ever need. It is our duty as Christians to follow the word and see that our fellow people in Christ do the same. We must set forth a pure example, a true, and good example for our youth. God's love comes with no bad intentions, it is patient and here for us all.
One of the best ways to see if a Christian Minister is true to God's word is if they lead by example. The authors state it in chapter one, "the moral ideal for a minister is integrity, a life of ethical wholeness and moral maturity" (Trull & Creech, 2017). As Christian Ministers, let us remember to first take a look at ourselves before we guide others. This is a lifelong process, not just a one time reflection period. Ethics for Christian Ministry also says, "Ministerial integrity is neither simple nor automatic" (Trull & Creech, 2017). Pray daily for God to lead you in the direction he has set forth for you - pray you find clarity in his word before you lead others.
Chapter one is full of an abundance of information on Christian Ministry, many important topics have been brought up, such as, God's calling. Those of us in high ministry positions seeking to guide many lost souls and saved souls, have heard a calling from God to be in this position of leadership. Take for an example, myself, creator of this website - what compelled me to do so? I had felt a calling from our Lord and savior to reach out to all people and help explain the Bible in simple terms. Not to give you my interpretations (this is something we all must fray away from) but to help new believers understand the context and to keep saved souls aligned in their faith. My calling was to bring positivity to the internet, was to share God's love on a platform that can reach millions anywhere in the world. Referring back to the reading, we see the wonderful usage of bible verse Jeremiah 1:4-5 (NIV), "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations." This is proof of God's ability to call on those of us for leadership positions in sharing the word. Shortly after, the authors explain how those who have been called by God should act on it; "One cannot serve Christ without serving people, for to serve people is to serve Christ" (Trull & Creech, 2017). They also referenced Matthew 25:31-46 for inspiration on that quote.
To wrap up chapter one in our reading of the novel, Ethics for Christian Ministry, they talk about how to be a professional Christian Minister. Included in that are six steps as quoted from the book, "1. Education, 2. Competency, 3. Autonomy, 4. Service, 5. Dedication, and 6. Ethics" (Trull & Creech, 2017). We can conclude and take away from this chapter that Christian Ministry is most certainly a profession. Rather we lightly minister others with small comments or take on a congregation of people, we should aim to be professional and represent the Lord in his truth and not with interpretation.
Thank you all for engaging in Part 1 of Ethics in Christian Ministry! Please feel free to become a member and leave comments on this post of your thoughts on this chapter.
Trull, J. E., & Creech, R. R. (2017). Ethics for christian ministry : Moral formation for twenty-first-century leaders. ProQuest Ebook Central https://ebookcentral-proquest-com.ezproxy.liberty.edu