Devotional Thought of the Day:
4 God’s various gifts are handed out everywhere; but they all originate in God’s Spirit. 5 God’s various ministries are carried out everywhere; but they all originate in God’s Spirit. 6 God’s various expressions of power are in action everywhere; but God himself is behind it all. 7 Each person is given something to do that shows who God is: Everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits. All kinds of things are handed out by the Spirit, and to all kinds of people! 1 Corinthians 12:4-7 (MSG)
231 I like the motto: “Let each wayfarer follow his way”, the road God has marked out for him, to be followed faithfully, lovingly, even though it is hard. (1)
It is one of the hardest lessons to learn as a pastor. It is one that is not often taught in Christian Universities or Seminaries, except maybe a short aspect of a pastoral care class.
It is simple and profound, it wears you our and leaves you in awe. Here is one of the greatest secrets to ministry:
You can’t minister to every person the same way, you can’t shepherd 100 people from 105 different places along the same exact path. They need to be drawn/dragged from where they are at to the foot of the cross, to the very mercy of God, poured out as His blood paid for all our sins.
Yet we are trained to use the same materials, the same processes in our discipleship of those in our churches. Those processes are based in some core thought that is essential ( for example, afflict those comfortable in their sin, comfort those afflicted by their sin. ) but how that is applied to the people in our churches should fit a particular process. it is a big job, but discipleship is both corporate and individual.
Is it any wonder that most churches stop discipleship once people have passed a new members class? Or if there is is a program, some drop out because it assumes a different starting path, and they are too frustrated to wait and see if it comes by where they are.
I know a great example of this, a lady who is a member of one of the churches I have pastored. She insists that she is a novice when it comes to faith, yet lives a life a devotion to God. A life I think is far more “along the path” that she realizes.
So how do you do this? Do you make everyone take the same path? Study the same scriptures? Do you not care if people get lost or bored? Or do you work with people individually?
It’s the same issue that Paul was talking to the Corinthians about. As they would serve in different ways, in different manners expressing the faith and growth in their trust of God. Not everyone will do the same things, have the same vocations, have the same exact path to spiritual maturity.
So how do we minister this way, effectively discipling people, shepherding them from the basics of trusting God, to actually walking with them?
Not sure yet, but it will be a lot of what I think through during advent.
Discussion very welcome on this one!
Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). Furrow (Kindle Locations 1161-1163). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.