In Colossians 1:29, Paul says, For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me. Paul isn’t attempting to draw attention to the quantity of his ministry, but to how he understands his ministry. Does Paul work hard at ministry? Yes he does. The words he uses here make that clear. He toils. He struggles. Ministry is hard work. His desire to present everyone mature in Christ takes a lot of hard labor on his part. 

But Paul isn’t highlighting that here. He gives all the glory for his labor to God. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.

Though God is sovereign and all-powerful, the Scriptures are clear that God chooses to exercise and bring about His sovereign plan through redeemed men. He enables and then uses human efforts to bring about His plans in the world, and this means that God gets all the glory for everything that happens in his name.

Our purpose, then, is to work with all of the energy that God gives us to proclaim Christ to everyone so that we can present everyone to God perfect in Christ Jesus.

This ministry purpose statement is helpful for three reasons.

First, it’s biblical. The church is not a business, yet it often sounds and acts like one. While in some things, this can be helpful and okay, in others, it can be detrimental to the church and it’s mission.  The church is not a business; it is the body of Christ on earth.  And as such, the church is supposed to rely on the sufficiency of the Scriptures in everything - even in choosing it’s purpose statement.  

Second, it recognizes the unfinishable nature of ministry.  Ministry will not cease or be complete until Christ comes again.  That is a fact that everyone must accept. There could be a church where a team of the godliest, most faithful pastors the world has ever seen ministered to the most obedient, humble congregation that’s ever existed, and at the end of all of their lives, after giving everything they had to ministering to those people, the work still wouldn’t be done.  Ministry is an ongoing mission until Christ comes again. By its very nature, ministry is an unfinishable task, and what Paul says here in verse 28 recognizes that.

Third, it forces the church to focus itself on Christ alone.  Too many ministries are built around a man . . . a personality.  Too many ministries are built around a school or a specific function.  To some extent, that may be inevitable in certain respects, but the problem is:  what happens when the man dies?  Or, what happens when that specific function isn’t needed or valuable anymore?  Here is what sometimes happens:  some of those churches end up losing their way.  In order for a church to remain faithful in the long haul, it must have a reason for existing that is far larger than any man or function could ever be.  And when one thinks about the goal of presenting every man perfect in Christ through the proclamation of Christ, one will see something with lasting and eternal value that can sustain believers for ages to come.

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