Christian ministries play an essential role in the furtherance of Christian work, for they provide resources that support the church in its effort to make disciples of Jesus in every nation. There are hundreds, even thousands, of ministries who are doing fine work all over the world, but a select few have become known for their expertise in certain areas that are important for Christian ministry. This list represents my suggestions as to the top three Christian ministries, each one being a leader in its own particular ministry area.
From the beginning of the parachurch organization movement, discipleship has always been a key focus of many ministries, and there are many excellent groups that create resources to teach the basics of the Christian faith to everyone. Pride of place among these groups would have to go to Ligonier Ministries for the depth of its content and the strength of its outreach. Dr. R.C. Sproul, the chief teacher associated with Ligonier Ministries, started the organization as a small study center in Western Pennsylvania in 1971. Since that time, it has grown into a worldwide ministry that seeks to educate Christians through a variety of avenues.
Ligonier Ministries publishes the monthly magazine Tabletalk, which includes weighty articles and daily Bible studies. Like many other Christian ministries, Ligonier also sponsors a daily radio program. The show Renewing Your Mind, which features in-depth, lay-level teaching and Christian sermons from R.C. Sproul is heard by millions on the radio and online. Reformation Trust is the publishing arm of Ligonier Ministries, and has produced several books on a wide variety of biblical, theological, and cultural topics. Ligonier also has an extensive catalog of audio and video teaching series.
The breadth of Ligonier's offerings make it the top Christian ministry in the area of discipleship, and one of the top three Christian ministries that is currently doing work today. Individuals can learn about theology, apologetics, the Bible, Christian living, church history, and more from Ligonier, and they can also find many free resources from the ministry on its website.
When it comes to mercy ministry - feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, etc. - few organizations are better helped to meet the needs of people all over the world than Samaritan's Purse. Unlike many other online Christian ministries, the primary purpose of Samaritan's purse is not to provide teaching tools but to mobilize teams to help with disaster clean-up, to provide food to those who lack it, to build schools and wells in impoverished areas, and much more. The scope of its work and speed of its response make Samaritan's Purse the top mercy ministry and one of the top three Christian ministries today.
Franklin Graham, son of the famous evangelist Billy Graham, heads up Samaritan's Purse. Franklin is often interviewed on television news programs and each year he makes a special push for Operation Christmas Child. This wonderful program allows people to fill shoeboxes with toys, clothes, candy, and other gifts, which are then delivered at Christmas to children around the world who would not otherwise receive any gifts on that special holiday. Samaritan's Purse includes gospel tracts, small Bibles, and other such materials so that the kids might learn the real meaning of Christmas from their gifts.
Since 1951, Campus Crusade for Christ has been one of the chief Christian outreach ministries dedicated to evangelism. Bill Bright founded this organization on the campus of UCLA to reach other college students with the gospel, but its work has expanded far beyond the college campus. This makes it an obvious choice for one of the top three Christian ministries and for the top Christian evangelistic ministry.
Campus Crusade for Christ has preached the Christian gospel to an uncountable number worldwide through its use of the Four Spiritual Laws and the Jesus Film, a live-action adaptation of the Gospel of Luke that has been used extensively on the foreign mission field. Today, Campus Crusade continues its initial mission of evangelizing college campuses along with its outreach to athletes via Athletes in Action. Campus Crusade also oversees FamilyLife, which works to help parents and families live out their faith in the home, and it sponsors Christian Embassy, a group dedicated to sharing the gospel with diplomats, government workers, and other representatives of ruling bodies and countries all around the world.
These are the top three Christian ministries currently in operation today, but there are countless others who are worthy of support. Christians are encouraged to do their research on these ministries and others not listed here and prayerfully consider whether they should start contributing to their work.