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Our Approach to Ministry
We have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. (2Co_4:2)
God has made us His servants under the new covenant of grace. "God . . . made us . . . ministers of the new covenant" (2Co_3:5-6). Those who desire to serve the Lord by grace have a very distinctive approach to ministry. "We have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully."
It is so sad that so many ministry approaches in the church world include motives and methodologies that are kept hidden, because their true character is shameful. Some of these dishonorable approaches involve "walking in craftiness" (such as, manipulating people through carnal enticements). Others involve "handling the word of God deceitfully" (such as, preaching what people want to hear, instead of what the scriptures actually say). If we are going to serve God by grace, we must reject such tactics.
Instead, we want to serve God "by manifestation of the truth." We minister by a candid declaration of God's truth, not by a deceptive operation of man's tricks. Also, we desire that our lives be a commendation of our message, not a contradiction of it: "commending ourselves to every man's conscience." As we proclaim God's truth, we humbly ask God to impact our lives by that truth, in order to become an example of what we preach. The Lord will use this to touch others deep in their consciences.
It is God's will that our ministries impact more than men's minds (which can be reached by mere ideas, concepts, or systems). It is His intention that our testimonies reach beyond men's emotions (which can be touched by exciting stories, condemning insinuations, or inspiring ideals). He certainly does not want us to appeal to people's pride ("let God make you someone others will envy") or to their covetousness ("give to our ministry, and God will give you ten-fold in return"). Rather, God desires to reach their consciences, that "image-of-God" imprint that convicts people of sin and of their need for God: "who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness" (Rom_2:15).