Debates frequently arise about whether Southern Gospel, as a whole and as individual groups, is ministry, entertainment, or both. But proponents of different viewpoints often are talking past each other, by defining key terms differently.
A recent email exchange with a Southern Gospel artist prompted the question: What, exactly, is ministry?
Merriam-Webster defines “ministry” as “the office, duties, or functions of a minister.” They define “minister” as “one officiating or assisting the officiant in church worship.” (There are alternate definitions for each, but these are the primary definitions.)
These definitions are not exactly helpful when seeking to understand how the term is used in the specific Southern Gospel context. In a Southern Gospel context, how should ministry be defined?
Under the dictionary definition or a Southern Gospel definition, is there anything incompatible about a minister who entertains? How about a minister who makes his living doing ministry?