If you believe that ministry happens only in church, then it’s time to expand your idea of ministry service beyond when the preacher talks on Sunday.
An overlooked place to minister is your home. These days home ministry has become non-existent. Modern homes take an everyone-for-yourself approach toward serving the Lord.
At one point in American churchianity, the sole duty in home ministry was to ensure everyone got to the church on time, dressed, pressed, and smiling. Even this hollow responsibility is gone now that people claim liberation from the old-fashioned shackles of showing up on time and have redefined regular attendance to be anything more frequent than paying the electric bill.
Yes, church attendance is important, but that is not what constitutes ministry at home. That is bringing your home to church. Home ministry is that service to the Lord you perform at home with those in your own household.
The Inadequacy of Weekly Church
It is impossible to perfectly equip saints in the few hours per week given to church meetings. Home ministry is necessary to provide what church meetings cannot on off days.
Church meetings are too infrequent; the messages can be too general and impersonal; pastors don’t know everything that goes on in your home, nor do they need to.
A child spends more days growing up in the home than 70 yrs of weekly church meetings or Sunday schools!
This means your children and spouse have an opportunity to learn more about God, life, doctrine, integrity, and truth from you in a decade of living together than 70 years of church attendance. Home ministry is a responsibility that can affect generations for good or bad.
A local church can provide outside strength, comfort, and encouragement, but always stands just outside the door from the day to day activities, emotions, and personal circumstances in your home.
At the heart of all ministry is taking heed first to thyself (1 Tim 4:16; 2 Tim 2:6). This happens in the privacy of your own home.
No one else on earth sees the sincerity and integrity of your service to the Lord as clearly as those in your home. Do you pray? Do you spend time in study? Do you mean what you sing at church? People at church can be fooled. People at home cannot.
Those who desire to minister with the church should be taking their ministry home first.
The Right Environment for Ministry
Church sponsored family activities and youth programs are no substitute for true home ministry. None of these public social activities can provide the kind of environment only found in your home.
If your home is anything like mine, it is a place where you can make yourself comfortable, relax, and let down your guard. Now imagine everyone at home trying to do the same thing: trying to make themselves comfortable, and often getting in each others way. Does this adequately describe your house? It describes most, and is the cause of many family problems.
Put a male and female adult together, add an infant, child, or hormonal teenager. Make them all sleep together, eat together, and get sick together. This is where true colors come out. Everyone’s weaknesses and needs are put literally on the table, and on the floor, and on the computer, in the bank account, and in the closet.
This is where some really good ministry work can be done. This is where sound doctrine, true faith, and genuine love is needed. Wrong doctrine, lack of faith, and insincerity only make matters worse.
Home is not only where the dirty laundry is aired (pun intended), but is also the first place you should be able to find help.
We are told to love and grow our brothers and sisters in the church, but do we neglect the very people we live with daily? Grace teaches us that part of the faith is ministering to our own house.
“But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” – 1 Timothy 5:8
How to Do Home Ministry
A lot of ministry work needs to be done in the home. All it takes is someone equipped with God’s word working effectually in them to step up and help.
How do you do it? With the same sound doctrine you would in ministry anywhere else. Grace, peace, truth, and the Bible rightly divided work at home just as well as they do in church or in public ministry.
Your pastor is not a part of your home. You must take responsibility to learn the material and study to shew yourself approved unto God. Avoiding home ministry is not an option.
Schedule weekly or nightly home studies that are brief, personal, doctrinally correct, edifying. Pray and pass along scripture at meals, events, or throughout the day.
Be involved in ministry in your home through family prayer, Bible study, evangelism, praise, comfort, encouragement, discipline, example, and edifying one another in love. Home ministry is terrific preparation for ministry in other places, and is the reason God made it a qualification for eldership (1 Tim 3:4; 1 Tim 3:12).
Many church ministries, even in Paul’s day, started from house ministries and then grew outside the walls of the home.
Whether you are in the role of husband, wife, or child, there is something for you to do in your home, and that only you can do.
Before wives can help in the church, they must first “guide the house” (1 Tim 5:14).
Before husbands can serve as elders in the church, he must “ruleth well his own house” (1 Tim 3:4).
Before young people can serve outside the home, “let them learn first to shew piety at home” (1 Tim 5:4).
Before any ministry can be done in the church, charge must be taken to do ministry at home.
Churches will only be as strong as the workmen and women that serve the Lord first in their home with sound doctrine of the Bible rightly divided. For these faithful brothers and sisters, young and old, fathers and mothers, we can be thankful to God working in them and in their households.