By Lewis Willis
I was recently given a copy of the Wayne County Bargain Hunter (Vol. 8, No. 50). My attention was directed to one of the front page articles. It was about a lady who is a member of the First Church of God in Wooster, Ohio. She and her church have launched a marvelous ministry. “What Julie Snyder does, is minister to others her love for God through dance and aerobic exercise, ” She believes her aerobics ministry “is a tool that the Lord can use to reach people. It reaches a lot of people who wouldn’t hear the message otherwise. ” She plays contemporary Christian music (whatever that is), and her students do aerobics to that instead of rock ‘n’ roll music. The article says, “To Julie, her exercise program means ‘that people not only can feel good physically, but spiritually as well. “‘ Babysitting is provided at a cost by the First Church of God.
Obviously, if You grant that such foolishness is scriptural, the potential is great for many other I ministries. ” Most churches already have programs which enable their members to “minister to God” as cooks, dishwashers, and floor scrubbers. These activities, like aerobics, usually take place in the fellowship hall. However, limiting activities to just these things greatly diminishes the ability of other Christians to perform their “ministries.” These churches should arrange facilities for Christian (?) ping-pong and golf ministries. Certainly, this would enable people to “feel good physically” and “spiritually as well.” It would be difficult to build a church building to accommodate the golf, but if the church can provide the class, why can’t it provide the golf course also? Is the potential for this kind of thing registering with you?
If anything a person is able to do can be turned into a personal and/or congregational “ministry,” just think of the services churches could begin to provide. Those who are good at washing and ironing clothes could begin their “laundry ministry.” The mechanics could begin their “garage ministries.” Get the farmers, dairymen, and grocers to unite their ministries and a church could open a “Christian grocery store.” (At a cost, of course. If you can charge for babysitting, why can’t you charge for groceries and milk?) This would really get the church on the move, wouldn’t it? Next you could have a “bankers ministry,” a ministry for the congregational TV repairmen, painters, plumbers, photographers, etc. There simply is no end to the potential offered if you grant that such is scriptural.
Of course, Ephesians 4:12 limits the activity of the church to edification, benevolence, and evangelism. Everything the church does must fall into one of those categories. Unfortunately, none of those things we’ve talked about go under those headings. Thus, it is unscriptural for the church to engage itself in such activities, even though someone might call it a “ministry.” It was about 50 years ago that some of our brethren forgot this lesson and started doing like the denominations around them – such as the First Church of God in Wooster. However, unless we keep ourselves instructed in the Truth of God, it will not be long before someone suggests that the church help them “minister to others (their) love for God” through computer programming or some such thing. Incidentally, a computer programmer ministry has as much New Testament support as does an aerobics ministry. Which is to say, none! If we would protect the church from such apostasy, not to say, heresy, we are going to have to be taught that such things are sinful. May God help us to keep the church unspotted by the sins of denominationalism.
Guardian of Truth XXXV: 2, p. 36
January 17, 1991