Minister is another clear example of a word taken hostage to elevate the preeminent elite. A word that simply describes a function becomes another tool in distorting the truth.
6Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; 7Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; Romans 12:6-7
This verse makes the point so clear that one could practically forego looking at the rest of the verses. Clearly, at any given time and for any person, if you are teaching, you teacheth, and are therefore a teacher. In the same way, if you are ministering you are performing a particular ministry and therefore for that moment in time you would be a minister. I will belabor the point by also mentioning pastor, which today is considered a synonym for a minister. If you are pastoring, you are performing a particular pastoral ministry and therefore for that moment in time you would be a pastor. No teacher certificate or title is required neither a minister certificate or title nor a pastor certificate or title. The key to those time encapsulated designations is according to the sovereign will of Jesus Christ, not some ecclesiastical preeminent person or organization.
And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. Luke 4:20
This passage shows minister being used at the time of Jesus for a person in the synagogue. Here we see the open platform within the synagogues that so much of the early church was patterned after; especially seeing Paul’s missionary journeys always finding open doors within the synagogues. Wherever Jesus went, he always found a platform for teaching and preaching. This minister, in the above passage, was performing his function, which was to facilitate the ministry of the synagogue.
And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it. Colossians 4:17
Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. Ephesians 3:7
Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; Colossians 1:25
1We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. 3Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed: 4But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, 5In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings; 6By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, 7By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, 8By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true; 9As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; 10As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things. II Corinthians 6:1,3-10
Ministry comes from God and not man. It is for all believers, all workers who work together with Jesus and with one another. When you engage in the ministries God has given to you, for those times in your life, you are a minister.
But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; Matthew 20:26
But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: Mark 10:43
And many women were there beholding afar off, which followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him: Matthew 27:55
(Who also, when he was in Galilee, followed him, and ministered unto him;) and many other women which came up with him unto Jerusalem. Mark 15:41
For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister. Hebrews 6:10
If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. I Peter 4:11
The major element I see in the above verses is that ministry is not relegated to the few elite but is universal for all Christians.
John Mark = And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews: and they had also John to their minister. Acts 13:5
Paul on way to Damascus = But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; Acts 26:16
That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost. Romans 15:16
Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I Corinthians 3:5
Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. II Corinthians 3:6
But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, II Corinthians 6:4
But that ye also may know my affairs, and how I do, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, shall make known to you all things: Ephesians 6:21
If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister; Colossians 1:23
All my state shall Tychicus declare unto you, who is a beloved brother, and a faithful minister and fellowservant in the Lord: Colossians 4:7
But now I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints. Romans 15:25
The above verses show God assigning each individual minister their ministry tasks. It is not up to those who consider themselves as preeminent to make those assignments or set their criteria. Whenever they do, they usurp the preeminent authority of God.