Andrew Purves, in The Crucifixion of Ministry, contends there are two crucifixions in ministry: the first one about seven years in and the next one a long, steady dying to self and to Christ so that “our” ministry becomes “his” ministry.
This book is for any of us, any of us who have a ministry or who exercise a spiritual gift and especially for any of us who think “we’ve” got a ministry.
The point is that we must die to self and that means also to our ministry.
Purves says he’s not seen any church where the Minister in the bulletin is “Jesus Christ.” What’s in a name?, he asks. This book is not a simplistic answer to a difficult question but a deep theological probing of what ministry is.
“I suspect for a broad swath of Christians, Jesus is a Lord at home in our celebrity-oriented culture: Jesus Christ, superstar. No tables get overturned. Rarely are demons denounced. No brood of vipers gets condemned” (30).
By what name? Jesus, the Lord.
Churches today are gripped by extremes: realtivism and fundamentalisms. The question is “Who” is truth? At the core of Christianity is John 14:6. He tells a story of a physicist saying that eventually we will climb the mountain to the beginning of time and when we get over the top we will see Jesus. Truth’s name is Jesus. “We commit the sin of essential tenetism” (35), the belief that we believe in ideas and propositions. What is truth? displaces Who is truth? He is a theologian and knows the value of theology, “but don’t confuse the words with the real thing, the person of our Lord” (35).
The name is Jesus.
Preach Christ, he says to ministries. Quit doing all the stuff you have to do and recommit yourself to what you were ordained to do: the ministry of the Word and Sacrament. Spend time with Jesus. Rejoice in Christ.