When I was teaching fifth and sixth graders in Sunday school I would tell them, “SO FEW people know the purpose of the church,” and then I would tick off those five letters on the five fingers of my right hand: “S.O.F.E.W: Service, Outreach, Fellowship, Education, and Worship.” It was a way to help them remember the five essential ministries of every Christian church, and it worked, but while that acronym makes it easy to remember the purpose of the church, those five words might not be the most descriptive. Education, for example, sounds like something you do only with your head while discipleship or apprenticeship could involve the whole person.
So let’s have a “name that ministry area” contest! I’ll list the five clear commands of Christ that inspire these ministries, and you try to come up with a good name for each one. Ready? Let’s begin:
- “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength” (Mk. 12:30). This is the area we sometimes call “worship.” Can you come up with a better name?
- “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Mk. 12:31). We sometimes call this “service.” Other options?
- “Love one another as I have loved you” (Jn. 13:34). This is the only command Jesus ever gave—to love one another. Is “fellowship” the best word for this?
- “Go into all the world and make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” (Mt. 28:19). We sometimes call this “outreach.” Is there a more accessible word?
- “And teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you” (Mt. 28:20). “Education” seems reasonable, but doesn’t discipleship involve the heart and hands as well as the head? What’s a better word?
Jot down a suggestion in each category and then click on the word “comments” below. You can enter your suggestions in the following format:
(Hmmm. Those are not bad! Maybe I’ll win the contest!)
Entries will be judged by the leadership staff at our regular meeting on Tuesday, March 31. Winners will be announced no later than Easter Sunday, April 12. So, get out that pencil and scratch pad and get busy. We need your help!