“The Two BIG Questions,” by Dr. James R. Wining

Every week I am faced with these two questions? What is the difference between a ministry and a church? Shortly, thereafter, comes the second question. Where do I give my tithe? The first ten percent of the first fruits of a Christian belong to God. In the Old and New Testament it seems to indicate a building, yet we know in most circumstances the meetings were in homes, businesses, public areas and tents. With the physicalness, set aside, the focus of giving appears to be not the place but the recipient- God. 

Jesus wandered the land in the mission of teaching the Word, meeting the needs of people and showing the love of God. In essence, He was a “Missionary and Church.” Paul on the other hand was a church planter and his mission was to go into the world and find places for churches to be gathering points for God. It is quite evident that Jesus and Paul were both bringing people into a body such as a church and they were out into the world rendering needed  service.

In the 21st Century in the USA alone there are over 45,000 churches. There only 5,300 colleges/universities in the USA and 6,200 hospitals. While church buildings are only about 20% the number of government buildings, churches serve a much smaller  populace than the government’s over 325 million.  Irrespective, of the previous, it is clear the physical church count is more than sufficient to educate, provide correction and socialize their populace.Problems begin with how to serve and evangelize into the world. 

While the church becomes the safe and secure place to be directed for education, correction and socialization, the mission work into the world falls to the 21st Century ministry.  Ministry does the work of social issues, social concerns and public disharmony in a open and undemanding way. While the church begins with Christianity as the basis for collaboration, the ministry begins with public awareness for collaboration. Churches carry “Badges of Faith,” such as Catholic, Baptist, Methodist,etc. into their settings. A true ministry’s badge is “Here to Help, with NO Strings Attached.” The ministry examples Christianity and professes Christian morals and values. The ministry thereby, becomes a conduit for the public to be directed to a church of their personal persuasion. 

Whether you are in the church working with people or in ministry serving the public both are to be functions of God’s purpose in our lives and should equally be treated with your first fruits.