Oscar Fonceca, Jr. wrote from Portland, Oregon.

The three qualities of good men, explained by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount, could not be more applicable than they are to the ministry of church ushers.


First, the ministry of ushering is like salt which makes everything more palatable and which serves as a general preservative against deterioration. Jesus did not say, "Ye ought to be the salt of the earth;" He said, "Ye are" (Matthew 5:13).

Ushers enjoy the ministry of a constructive influence. Paul said, "Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt" (Colossians 4:6). A good usher adds a tang of joy to a churchgoer's Sabbath morning experience instead of a tinge of drabness.

Also, the ministry of an usher is like salt because salt can never do its work until it is brought into close contact with the substance on which it is to make its influence. The church ushers, pastors, musicians, or teachers, come into direct contact on an individual basis with more people in a given service than anyone else who ministers to them. The ministry of salt is silent, inconspicuous, and sometimes completely unnoticed. But it is there—in a powerful and useful way.


Also, a good usher is like "a city set upon a hill" (Matthew 5:14). While ushers are like inconspicuous salt, they also may become like a city on a hill. They become landmarks to churchgoers who learn to depend upon them.

Stability helps overcome many other weaknesses in the priority of qualifications among ushers. The first glimpse of an usher on whom a churchgoer has come to depend brings an internal sense of welcome repose; they think, "Someone is on hand who is interested in me!"

It is not uncommon for an usher to become an advisor, a source of information, counselor, or better yet, an intermediary between the needs of a specific person and the resources available through the pastor, musicians, and teachers of the church.


Third, a good usher is like a lamp on a stand, not put "under a bushel but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house" (Matthew 5:15). A lamp brings warmth and welcome to all who are in the room. One flickering candle in a room can brighten the conversation and bring an inner feeling of warmth and joy.

As a lamp dispels the darkness and brings emotional warmth to a room, so the ministry of an usher can make a similar intangible contribution to all who experience the inner light of pleasure in people which he allows to shine through himself.

Jesus concluded this discussion on the character of a good usher by saying, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 5:16).

ather which is in heaven" (Matthew 5:16). It is the nature of Christian character to radiate; it cannot help but shine. But the radiance of this glory is not for "self" but for the Kingdom of God. The ministry of an usher is not intended to bring glory to himself but to God. Just as a pastor preaches in the Spirit and a musician sings in the Spirit, the usher must do his work in the power of the Holy Spirit—bringing glory to God in the Lord's house on the Sabbath the Lord's day.

Oscar Fonceca, Jr. wrote from Portland, Oregon.