Should we engage in ministry and pursue the mission even when it might involve putting ourselves in potentially harmful situations. Yes. Absolutely. Without a doubt. We do not make an idol out of our welfare and self-preservation.
But what if we have a family? What if doing this sort of ministry and pursuing the mission in this way not only potentially endangers ourselves, but also our family and our children — those of whom Paul says, “[I]f anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Tim 5:8).
John Piper — “Short answer: Yes.”
Why? Because the cause is worth the risk, and the children are more likely to become Christ-exalting, comfort-renouncing, misery-lessening exiles and sojourners in this way than by being protected from risk in the safety of this world.
The following is my philosophy of ministry, originating as an assignment submitted to Martin R. Crain in partial fulfillment for the course PT 7460 MDiv Capstone Seminar, and eventually developed into its final form here as an official document for South City Church.
If you’re doing seminary without significant involvement in a local church, as the saying goes, “You’re doing it [sic] wrong.”
Over the past two years of seminary I’ve become more and more convinced of the church’s importance in my (and others’) seminary education. It takes a church to raise a Christian. And equally so, it takes a church to form a seminarian. As such, I am convinced that going through seminary without significant involvement in a local church (i.e., not just attending, but being involved in ministry) is incredibly harmful to one’s seminary experience and formation process.
Let me share with you at least three reasons why.
1. It’s a needed supplement to your seminary education.
We learn a lot of valuable stuff in seminary. But seminary can’t provide us with all the training we need. (Get your Greek out!) It’s a para- (“alongside”) church organization, not a para- “this-is-all-there-is!” organization.