What is Ministry?


By Dr. Ken Matto


But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.  (2 Timothy 4:5)


There seems to be much confusion as to what ministry is.  True ministry is the worldwide spreading of the gospel without compromise and that means in all areas from Bible versions to Bible interpretation.  Many feel that those on the radio or those who pastor a church are doing ministry while the rest of the Christians are not called to ministry or only called to support the ministries of other Christians.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  There is no such thing in Christianity as a Caste system where some are gifted for ministry and are given public ministries and those who are of lesser importance who were saved just to write checks to public ministries.  I wish to offer some guidance in the area and show Christians that they are not only saved to send checks to good ministries but are to minister themselves.


In the text of this article we see in 2 Timothy 4:5 in the fourth command that Paul exhorts Timothy to make full proof of his ministry, that is, to do the ministry to the utmost. He is to engage in the duties of the ministry to the fullest extent no matter what task he was working on. If it was preaching, the whole counsel of God. If it was counseling, then rebuke and exhortation. If it was confronting the false teachers, then no holds barred as they had to be exposed in the widest manner possible so people would see their fraudulence.  Whatever ministry Timothy engaged in, he was to do it to the best of his ability.  There was to be no cutting corners.  Sometimes we send a check to media ministries and think that we have done our job.  It takes maybe 10 minutes to write a check and seal an envelope but that means you have 167 hours and 50 minutes left.  What are you going to do with it?  That is the question each of us has to ask ourselves.


Media Ministries

The majority of Christians know about media ministries because all you have to do is turn on Christian radio and you will get a different biblical opinion every half hour.  There are also the television ministries which engender as much confusion as the radio ministries.  This is one major reason why Christians are so confused.  They will not do any personal studies so they listen to Christian radio and then go to church to get another opinion so by the end of the week, they will have ten different interpretations of a single passage.  The TV ministries normally contain all the false teachers who invent their own gospels so they can placate their hearers thus pumping up donations.  The radio ministries do that as well and that means both charismatic and non-charismatic ministries in which the head guy gets a 6 figure salary while placing their families in that ministry so they too can collect a six figure salary.  Some who do that are Ravi Zacharias who has his wife and daughter on staff, Chuck Swindoll who has his wife on staff, Hank Hanegraaf has his wife on staff, Luis Palau has his son on staff, David Jeremiah has his son on staff and these are all taking 6 figure salaries from donations.  The non-charismatic ministries always accuse the charismatic ministries of craving money and they do the very same thing.  Media ministries are all compromised and even though they might be teaching the cardinal truths of Christianity such as Christ is God; the Holy Spirit is God; the Bible is God’s written word, they are all compromised in other areas.  Even the smallest compromise is a compromise and opens the door for other areas to be polluted as well.  From those who push false Bible versions like Chuck Swindoll or John MacArthur to those who deny original sin like Tony Evans or deny the Trinity like T.D. Jakes.  I have personally determined never to send another penny to media ministries again because of their “covenant with hell.”  “Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves:”  (Isaiah 28:15) 


Church Ministries

This the establishment where the most guilt manipulation takes place.  The pastors get up on Sunday morning and malign the Christians in the pews because they have not done enough for the church.  The problem with most churches is that they have the Christian existing for the local church and nothing else.  Tell your pastor you are dividing up your weekly offering between his church and another ministry and he will read you the riot act.  If everybody did that then how would he get his salary up to six figures and get a nice big car for himself?  I attended a church where the pastor drove a Jaguar.  The problem with church ministries is that the majority of the donations die right at that location.  It is not wrong to give to a church so you can have a place for ministry and to recruit others for ministry but every last penny should not be given to any local assembly.  Many churches do not even have a missions budget but they definitely have enough for new carpets, overhead projectors, new pews, pastor’s yearly salary increase, church picnic, etc.  If the church has no outreach, both local and worldwide, then they are a false church.  And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.  (Mark 16:15)  The mandate is to send the gospel to the world and the Lord did not make that a suggestion after all the bills are paid, it is the primary reason of existence for every true church.  If you belong to a local church and have tried to get a group together to evangelize, and then you have been running into opposition by the leaders, then leave that church as fast as you can.


Personal Ministries

Giving funds to a compromised media ministry or dedicating your life to a church that does nothing is both a waste of the Lord’s funds and a waste of your life.  Personal ministry is basically the heart of this article.  I wish to encourage every Christian reading this article that you have a personal ministry beyond check writing.  When churches tout that you should be tithing to them and they use Malachi 3:10 to enforce it, they are twisting Scripture to fleece you.


Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.  (Malachi 3:10)


During the time of ancient Israel when the temple was the central place of worship, the people brought a tithe of everything they produced from money to spices.  This was done so the work of the temple would continue as it was the central place where God was worshipped and where the people received their training and studies from the Hebrew Scriptures.  Then comes the cross where everything had changed.  No longer is the temple the central point of worship.  The temple would be destroyed by General Titus and would no longer be in existence.  The temple would no longer be a physical building but would now be the body of believers.


Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?  (1 Corinthians 3:16)


What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?  (1 Corinthians 6:19)


As you can plainly see that the temple is no longer a building but the Scriptures teach that the body of believers is the eternal temple.  Now we see this in the verse in 1 Corinthians 3 that the corporate body of believers is the temple and in 1 Corinthians 6 we read that the individual believer is the temple.  Since the temple is no longer a building this means that the concept of the physical church being the continuation of the physical temple has no biblical backing whatsoever.  Since there was only one central temple in Israel and there are well over 50,000 churches in the United States alone, then which singular church would be the qualifying temple?  The answer is simple, none of them because the temple is now the body of believers and local churches are nothing more than meeting places for the body of believers.


Now since the temple has been changed from a physical building to the body of believers, this also means the storehouse has also been changed since there is no physical temple to store things.  The storehouse is now the Kingdom of God otherwise known as the body of believers.  Whenever you make money and put aside a portion of that income for ministry and have not yet disbursed it, it is in the storehouse.  Let’s say you have put fifty dollars aside weekly for ministry.  You give twenty five to your church  and hold back twenty five because you want to buy a Bible and keep it on hand to give it away to someone who needs one.  Giving a Bible to someone is just as much ministry as giving to your church.  The next week you want to go hand out tracts downtown in your city.  So you need at least forty dollars to do that so you give ten to your church and hold back forty dollars and purchase tracts with them.  Let’s say you purchased 500 tracts and then went to the street and handed them all out.  Let us say your church has 100 people in it.  Your pastor reached 100 people on Sunday with his sermon but you reached 500 people which was five times the number your pastor reached.  Are you beginning to see how much larger your personal ministry can be than even your local church?


My personal website receives between two to three thousand unique visitors every day which means in a seven day period I am reaching between 14,000 and 21,000 people weekly.  Last month (May 2019) I had 283,594 page views which comes out to 9148 page views per day which comes out to 381 per hour.  My website cost $209 per year to keep on line.  That is 57¢ per day which means I am reaching 2-3,000 people per day for less than the price of a cup of coffee.  Do you see the vast reaches of personal ministry?  It can be greater than the largest mega-churches.  A great benefit of personal ministry is that you can control what material you send out or post.  When you give to a church or media ministry, you are hoping the preacher teaches something which is biblical and not personal or through a biased belief system.  When you have your own personal ministry, you do not have to concern yourself with appeasing diverse crowds to keep the money flowing in.  You can concern yourself with spreading materials or teachings that are only based in scripture and you do not have to worry about the media minister pocketing a good portion of donations for himself.  You will be in total control of the finances and only what you see fit and proper will you then send out to the masses.


One thing about personal ministry is that you may have to spend a large amount of time performing it but the benefits are worth it.  If you engage in personal ministry, people can contact you personally and you can be involved in their spiritual growth or just answer questions.  Try and personally meet with any media minister and you will find many buffers between you and them.  The majority of them think they are so profound that they can’t be bothered with ordinary Christians but their ministry will sure cash your check and then send a form letter back to you thanking you.  Don’t concern yourself about the fact that you cannot give a tax deductible receipt because you would be more concerned with getting the truth out.  Many Christians see the IRS as their benefactor and will not give unless they get that receipt.  They forget that the essence of ministry is to get the truth of Jesus Christ out to the world and not whether they can deduct their donation from their taxes.  You will wind up funding your own ministry and do not fall for the belief that you are not engaged in ministry because you don’t support media ministries.  If you are getting the truth of the gospel out to the world, then you are engaging in ministry.  There was no media ministry before radio was invented so all ministry was done on a personal basis.  Once media ministry invaded the airwaves, ministry then became impersonal and focused on the main speaker not whether truth was getting out.  Preachers hid behind microphones and cameras and ceased to interact with the people just like today.  The only time you see these famous preachers is when they are on stage in a roundtable as if they all think they have nail prints in their hands.


Personal ministry is just that, personal, and it can be a great part of your life.  You will not have to concern yourself if the ministry you support compromises because if you are doing personal ministry, then you control the content of your preaching and teaching.  You do not need a seminary degree to do ministry. In fact, those with seminary degrees are the ones responsible for the horrendous condition the church and the media ministries are in.  As I said above they are compromised because they need to tell the people what they want to hear to keep the donations coming in so they can continue their ivory tower existence.  Never criticize the fact that if you do personal ministry and it does not get big that you are not making an impact.  Every ministry operates on the principle of the ripple effect.  If you throw a stone in a pond, the stone only goes in one time but the effect of that stone is seen as the ripples go out from the center to the edge of the pond.  That is the same with ministry.  No matter how small it is, it will have an impact and on who it impacts is the Lord’s business.


For who hath despised the day of small things? for they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven; they are the eyes of the LORD, which run to and fro through the whole earth.  (Zechariah 4:10)


So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.  (Isaiah 55:11)


Two major principles of ministry we find in these verses.  The first one we read in Zechariah 4:10 where the scripture speaks about despising the day of small things.  The words “small things” in the Hebrew carries with it the meaning of “least in quantity or size.”  Never worry about the fact that your ministry may remain small all your life because any ministry done in truth will have an impact on someone.  My physical ministry has remained small since it is still relegated to the Internet through a computer but the website reaches over 150 countries each month.  Not bad for one computer tucked away in a bedroom.  Did I ever think my site would have that much outreach?  No I didn’t, even though I know the Internet is worldwide so that brings in the second principle.  The word of God will go out from his mouth which today is through his written word and it will accomplish what it set out to do.  The word “accomplish” in the Hebrew carries with the meaning of “to do, to make, finish” and is one of the most widely used words in the Hebrew scriptures.  Whomever God gets his word to, it will accomplish in their lives what God wants it to and that could mean from salvation to discipline to encouragement to judgment.  Whether God’s word is proclaimed through a large ministry or a small ministry, it will have an impact on people if it is proclaimed in truth.  Your physical ministry may remain small all your life like mine has.  The impact is unknown to me at this time but occasionally I hear from people from different countries around the world.


Just recently I received a letter from Nigeria requesting 48 Bibles to different ministries, pastors, and churches.  I placed a fundraiser on my Facebook page and sent notices to many I know.  I needed to raise $1380 for the project and the money has come in so the Bibles can now be sent.  What ripple effect will that have?  I won’t know till I get to glory but the fact is that the Lord has given me this task and other brothers and sisters were happy to join in the effort and all without tax deductible receipts being issued.  So if you are open to personal ministry, you never know from day to day where the Lord will take you in the area of ministry.  Will those Bibles have a ripple effect when they are used to preach the gospel?  They sure will!  So don’t compare the size of your ministry to other ministries.  Remember the larger the ministry the most likely it is already compromised.  Stay small and stay true and your ministry will be used of the Lord for his accomplishing purposes.