On being ‘ministers’

Ever since I became a humanist, I’ve been trying to work the word ‘ministry’ into the secular lexicon. After all, almost every government but ours calls its various departments ‘ministries’ (and their heads ‘ministers’) because they tend to the various needs of its citizens. Plain and simple, ministry is a great descriptor of effective, intentional care or service, whether or not it has anything to do with believing in God.

There are lots of words like that. Fellowship, mission, monastic, and even spirituality could all be helpfully utilized by secular community builders if we weren’t so afraid of being confused with our supernaturalist counterparts. Mind you, I don’t want to take those words away from anybody; I want to share them with everybody who’s doing what we’re doing, which is bringing people together to intentionally pursue goodness, love and justice.

This thought came to mind again today when one of my humanist pals alerted me to this post by one of my Christian heroes, Hugh Hollowell, who cares for homeless people in Raleigh-Durham, NC in the most beautiful way:

The best ministry advice I ever got, way back at the very beginning. I was so scared, and sinking. So I sent an email…

Posted by Hugh L. Hollowell on Friday, January 15, 2016


Hugh knows I don’t believe in God anymore, and he also knows I stand by every word I wrote to him back when I did. Make no mistake; we’re all called to be ministers, if not by God, then by the better angels of our natures. Thanks Hugh.

By | 2017-11-17T15:58:08+00:00 January 15th, 2016|Blog|

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About the Author:

Bart Campolo is a secular community builder, counselor and writer who currently serves as the Humanist Chaplain at the University of Cincinnati. Listen to his podcast HERE!