And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues.
-- 1 Cor 12:28 NKJV

According to 1 Cor 12:28, the Ministry of Helps is one of the supernatural gifts God has placed in His Body as a pillar, to help hold things up and together, for the benefit of all. As such, it is no less essential and no less important to the efficient and powerful operating of His Church than are the 5-fold ministry offices of apostles, prophets, and teachers, also mentioned in this same passage.

Perhaps because there is little glamour tied to a Ministry of Helps, there is little heard about it in church services, little credit given it for the key position it holds in supporting God’s Kingdom on earth, and few prayers rising up from God’s children asking Him to make us Ministers of Helps.

We would much rather receive giftings as apostles, prophets, teachers, miracle workers, healers, and even administrators or speakers in tongues. As such, it is much more dramatic and appealing for us to strut our stuff. Who wants to be applauded for cleaning the toilets? Or vacuuming the sanctuary? Or raking the leaves in the yard? But is this even all that the Ministry of Helps is about? Who are the actual Ministers of Helps and who do they help?

Stephen and Philip were among the first seven provided with this gifting and ordained for this task with prayer and the laying on of the apostles’ hands (Acts 6:1-8). The catalyst for this establishment of the Ministry of Helps in God’s church was the neglect of the Hellenist widows in the daily distribution of food (v. 1) and the recognition that the apostles could not tend to every task in God’s growing Church without neglecting the specific job given them to do by God, which was to pray and to preach (vs. 2,3). But the service provided by Stephen and Philip did not end with serving at tables. It did not even end with serving believers.

Stephen went on to do “great wonders and signs among the people” (v. 8) and was eventually arrested and killed for faithfully sharing the Gospel in public in the face of strong opposition from several factions among the Jewish population (Acts 6:9-15, Acts 7).

Philip went on to proclaim Christ in Samaria (Acts 8:4-40) with miraculous signs and wonders following, including casting out of evil spirits, and healings of paralytics and cripples (vs. 4-8); preaching and baptizing in water in Gaza (vs. 26-39) then, after miraculously being transported to Azotus, preaching from Azotus to Ceasarea (v. 40).

It should be clear from these passages that the Ministry of Helps is not limited to cleaning bathrooms in your local church, but reaches far afield from those modest beginnings and extends into evangelism, supernatural healing, baptism in water, casting out of evil spirits, and proclaiming the Gospel. The Ministry of Helps, in fact, includes performing whatever task may be required to assist the spread of God’s Kingdom on earth. As such, it has two directions of focus:
1. Helping to serve at God’s table in the local church by assisting the Pastor in whatever way will free him up to spend his or her time praying, preaching, and pastoring God’s sheep (Acts 6:1-3).
2. Helping to serve in God’s fields by planting and tending His seeds and bringing in His crop (Acts 6-8).

Stephen and Philip have clearly demonstrated that the fullness of ministry does not manifest in full bloom, but grows from a seed to a tender plant to a budding plant to full blossom. You should take heart from this, if your own field of ministry is not entirely clear to you at this time.

My own ministry feels scattered about right now, and not at all a settled single focus. I tend to the maintaining of a reverent atmosphere in the sanctuary before and during church services by setting the example of prayer at the altar and covering other people praying at the altar with blankets, so that they are not a distraction to others. I tend to the larger body of Christ by picking up trash from the pews after our service and before the next service held by Spanish-speaking members of God’s Body. I tend to freeing my Pastors’ time for prayer and preaching by administering our FMTI Bible school, occasionally moving stuff about, providing whatever feedback and input I can that I think might be helpful in moving God’s vision for my local church forward, and hope to help design and set up systems in my Pastors’ offices for more efficient managing of time and paperwork—then train them in their use until they become habit and part of a smoothly running office. I tend to God’s more public fields in small acts of kindness, in spoken praise for God’s assistance in every difficulty overcome, in testifying in person, and in writing articles published online in my blogs and elsewhere.

My own ministry is but a seedling itself, yet I know it has a desirable impact because I know, if someone else were to perform those same acts for me, it would certainly brighten my days and ease my load. I am feeling a bit like scattered seed, however, and I can’t help but wonder if I could be ministering more effectively if I were to narrow my focus. The most logical direction for that narrowing is toward administration, since that seems to be where I am naturally and currently best equipped and most skilled. On the other hand, God doesn’t always first equip us then send us. Sometimes He sends us and equips us as we go. So what is He doing in my case right now? I’ll have to get back to you on that. After more prayer and fasting. And in His timing.

In the meantime, you’ll have to excuse me for now; my Pastor’s uplifted arm is tiring. I need to go help lift it up.

Author's Bio: 

Judy Miller has been aware all her life that we all carry healing in our hands and in our mouths. She has practiced, applied, and taught this since 1972. Her spiritual path has taken her through multiple disciplines, landing her in the depths of Christianity, where she continues to learn and grow.

Judy is a compulsive teacher with a strong desire to share her writing and healing skills, experience, and knowledge, as well as her Christian understanding so that others can grow into the capable, confident, courageous, and compassionate men and women they are called to be.

She has been self-developing her writing skills since she began writing poetry in her teens. She is the published author of four books; numerous newsletters, speeches, and feature magazine articles; and a collection of her poetry and line drawings. In 2010, she added blogging to her writing forms.

Blogging, however, proved to be way too much fun, and she finally had to delete six of the blogs she had set up and condense the material into a more manageable two. Now, in addition to her blog, A Healed Life: The Life Worth Living, devoted to healing all aspects of life, she recently added a second blog entitled Books, Words, and Paper Things celebrating her love of books, words, and all things paper.