I recently finished reading Collaborate: Family + Church. I decided to revise my personaly ministry philosophy to incorporate some of it’s concepts as well as other things I have been thinking about. I would love to hear your own personal ministry philosophy as well!
Personal Ministry Philosophy
My goal in ministry is to bring children, families and volunteers into closer relationship with God by engaging them in His story as we journey together in a faith-filled community. The basis for every decision I make in life comes back to my calling to share the love of God with those around me. My hope is that at every opportunity I will encourage others into a greater lifelong journey of discipleship.
Bringing people closer to God has to begin with His story. When we first introduce someone to who God is, a story must be shared. God’s story is revealed in His word. His desire to be in relationship with people, their rejection of him and His relentless pursuit to draw them near is His story. When we understand God’s story, finding our place in it leaves us breathless at His love. As we challenge people to journey deeper into His story through study of His word, we find that ministering to people is about responding to His love through discipleship. Not simply accepting Jesus but, more importantly, following Jesus (Luke 9:23).
Participating in God’s story is not something that can be taught. We must be invited into it through a relationship. By design, the best place for the invitation and the response to occur is in the context of a family. In families, we have the ability to live our discipleship in ways that are transparent and authentic. As parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, foster siblings, neighbors and others walk the journey they show those close to them, especially children, what it means to serve a risen savior. For some parents this journey and the twists and turns it reveals are quite intentional. For others any sort of spiritual growth is happenstance. Ministry to families means joining them on their journey and helping to share tools which will better equip them to walk and plant seed on the good soil (Luke 8:1-15).
Every generation of children is different. As God has revealed himself throughout history, he has made himself known in ways that were real and made sense to people. Ministers are given the privilege of partnering with God to accomplish this. The challenges of reaching children in an age where their hearts are saturated with media and conflicting messages are huge. Many parents feel they cannot compete. My responsibility as a minister is to help parents see that the Gospel is more real than anything their children encounter on a daily basis. By living according to this truth in ways that are authentic, parents will have a voice which speaks louder than IPods or internet.
As I am invited to participate in the spiritual journey of families I join the countless others who have walked with them before. These communities are made up of those in church settings, home settings, and less recognizable places where God’s presence can be felt. The potential for multiple generations, all with different gifts and abilities to “spur one another on toward love and good deeds” (Hebrews 10:24) is a lasting assurance of the legacy which can be inherited when faith communities journey together.
Interacting with children and families in a community of openness and grace models for them what participation in Kingdom living looks like. Ministering with them in ways that are fresh and experiential reaches them on a level that goes much deeper than the head. In turn, children and families see that journeying with Christ is more than knowing the Bible, it is knowing God. Realizing His love for them calls them to be part of His mission to be extensions of His grace to others.