Far too much of what keeps us busy in the church has nothing to do with ministry.

Committee meetings. Building projects. Even “sacred and spiritual” things like Vacation Bible School and Fall Festivals (“Hey kids, don’t eat candy and dress up like a witch to celebrate Satan, eat candy and dress like Sampson to celebrate Jesus!”).

Not all of these things are bad, per se, but unless we’re intentional they veer off of the ministry track pretty quickly. Committees can become a group of people that meet regularly to maintain themselves and figure out…nothing. Building projects can serve to construct a monument rather than serve the mission. And VBS? Without intentionality, it’s just flannelgraphs, stale cookies, and warm Kool Aid. (And Kool Aid has signaled the abrupt end of a few religious movements.)

So how do you move from filling roles to doing ministry? How do you make sure that your task list includes touch? It’s simple: make sure the gospel is the undergirding reason and the power behind all that you do. Keeping the gospel at center keeps people from becoming projects. Keeping the gospel at center keeps your focus on making disciples rather than just hitting goals.

Anybody can toss on an orange vest and park cars for Sunday service. It takes a gospel-centered volunteer to pray for the needs of the people in the cars. Anyone can stand at a door and say hello. It takes a gospel mindset to pause long enough to learn the names that go with the faces. Anybody can keep kids in a classroom for an hour. It takes the gospel to have a vision for who Jesus wants those kids to be, and let that drive our lesson plans.

Life is too short and the mission is too urgent to fulfill tasks without the Great Commission as a backdrop. Do everything with God’s glory and the forward movement of the gospel in mind. If it’s not really ministry, kick it to the curb.