Being Missionary Minded - Blessing the Broken in tangible ways, both in Word and deed.
Instead of viewing coworkers and neighbors and lost or saved, a change of mindset to seeing them as broken and in need of more of Jesus can be life-changing to both you and them. No one likes to feel like they are a project for some Christian to change. Often, when all we think about is sharing the Gospel with someone, we miss tremendous opportunities to see physical or emotional needs that they might have.
Instead - be mindful of their lives in a more holistic way. The fall hasn’t just affected people spiritually, though it is all tied together, but physically, emotionally, financially, and socially. Between financial struggles, cancer, depression, or failed relationships, there are a ton of ways to enter into the lives of those around you. The old adage, “people don’t know how much you know until they know how much you care,” really does follow the example of Jesus. Jesus intentionally wanted to help people with their physical or social problems and to explain to them their spiritual needs as well. In fact, the life of Jesus is filled with Him ministering through all of these aspects of brokenness. This doesn’t mean we don’t share the Gospel; it just means we share the Gospel and the love of Christ through each of these dynamics of life. And when we do it, two things occur. The person we are sharing with actually feels loved and understands how the gospel can help them in their current lives and how it affects their eternity as well. It also does something in the life of the believer. It opens up opportunities to not only share the Gospel but also your lives as well.
Most often when we think about the brokenness of those around us we don't have a holistic view point, but more so a one track minded. Merely, Spiritual Brokenness. This comes from a very Descartian way of life. "I think, therefore I am." People are created in God's image and therefore are made of both body and soul. And the fall has affected us in a holistic way. Our entire beings are polluted by our sin and the fall of man. If this is the case, seeing people in the way that Jesus did, takes more than a one dimensional viewpoint.
The Fall has broken us Spiritually, Physically, Emotionally, Financially, and Socially to name a few of the most basic aspects of our lives. Too often Christians have tried to minister to people in one of two ways. Spiritually or physically. We either give them truth in the form of the Gospel or certain biblical doctrine; or we give them handouts in the form of money or food. To really enter into someone's lives and experience them the way that Jesus did, "as harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd" (Matthew 9:36), we must see them as more than just a person we have to convince to live differently. We must demonstrate Jesus, who takes away the sins of the world, actually changes people and how that can be true for them.
Seeing people in a holistic way as affected by the fall can help build compassion and empathy and can move us from seeing people as just projects to fix. Yes, this is messier, but the Lord will make you a blessing to people and use you to explain the Gospel after, before, and during times of blessing the broken.
Spiritually - Spiritually people are dead in their trespasses and sins and need to be reconciled to God their creator.
Physically - Physically the fall has broken our bodies in too many ways to count.
Emotionally - The fall has wrecked havoc on our hearts. We struggle in ways that are deeper than just how we think. Our hurt runs deep. Wounds and scars plague our inner worlds just as easily as our physical.
Financially - Even the way we spend and understand money has been effected by the fall. Poverty and riches can plague people.
Socially - Relationally we are broken and hurt. There is familial disagreements. Anger and bitterness. Racial divides. Workplace issues. The list goes on and on.
“I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” (Genesis 12:2-3)
Being a blessing is more of a mindset than it is a result. When you think of helping people use this pattern and watch how God uses your relationships.
B - begin with prayer
L - listen
E - eat with people
S - serve people
S - share with people
Beginning with prayer. Our relationships should be bathed in prayer. This brings the power of God into your own life and the life of those we are ministering to.
Listening. Remember the tips from last session! The old adage, "people don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care," is absolutely true. Don't make people into projects that you are trying to fix. Get to know them. Get to know their struggles. Get to know their passions. Get to know how God has created them in His own image.
Eat. Jesus came eating and drinking. This was a normal part of life and Jesus shows us how to use food to get into the lives of those around us. Practically, most people eat during the day, join them or invite them into your life. So much can be shared around a table and eating together draws people together in a way like nothing else. Sometimes, eating a meal or serving someone a meal is the most tangible was to bless them.
Serve. Continuing in the vein of thought from listening and eating, serve them. When someone knows that you care about them in ways more than just teaching them something, they will begin to trust and respect you. Again, show them they are more than a project.
Share. God commands us to share our story and the good news of the Gospel. Only through the proclamation of the Word can someone be saved. In some cases someone could go through each of these steps of blessing in one setting. The point isn't necessarily the order but the heart behind it. Sometimes, non-Christians can be turned off by Christians because they reverse this order, or worse, just stay on the share step and never engage them in any other way. We must remember that their brokenness is more than just spiritual brokenness. We serve them like Jesus did and meet both their spiritual needs and their physical needs as well. Sharing in the context of Prayer, Listening, Eating, and Serving resembles Jesus' ministry. Be like Jesus.e, a customer quote, or to talk about important news.
Lean into relationships in a way that fits the context of your work environment. Be someone who prays for those around you during the day somehow. Let them know that you will be praying for them and tell them if ever there is something they need prayer for, to let you know. Ask them if they have any specific things you can pray for.
This does a four things.
It demonstrates that you are spiritual and believe in a God to who we can pray to.
It demonstrates that you care about them.
If the circumstance changes and it is apparent that God answered your prayers, that is an opportunity for you to go deeper with them relationally and spiritually. God can use an answered prayer in ways we can’t imagine.
It gives you an opportunity for follow-up. So if they ask for prayer for something, you can now circle back with them and check to see if anything has changed.
The following type of opportunities exist
Feeding the hungry
Empowering the poor through practical help
Visiting communities to build relationships
Getting connected with a local partner ministry
International Mission trip
You've made it to the end of our On-boarding process for new Community Life Leaders.
I am so glad you stuck with it! Thanks for taking the time to walk through our 6 training sessions
You made it through each of the following!
The Way of Jesus
The Gospel in Community
Mission and Key Characteristics
Care and Counseling in Community
I mentioned at the beginning that the goal of this training plan is the following:
Be committed to the way of Jesus and the vision of being disciples who make disciples.
Grow in your understanding of the Gospel.
Know the Mission, Characteristics, and Critical Actions of Community Life
Embrace the structure of Community Groups
To empower leaders on how to care for souls
See mission as the end goal and not be scared of it.