Wednesday, December 28, 2005

What is Relevant Ministry?

Hey, all. I'm going to shift gears today from my usually devotion style blog. I have mentioned before about the call to start a church. That call has led me in recent weeks to really dive headfirst into examining ministry, as to find a good method of reaching out to people with the Gospel. Of course,we know that the message of Gospel must never change, but the method we use to serve it up does.

About a year ago, I was about halfway into the Minsterial Internship Program, a nine-month program designed to give practical experience to new ministers. I was beginning put together the one paper we were required to write, called the Theology of Ministry (Henry, Darrell and Neil, I'm sure you remember!). For my topic, I looked at the ministry of Jesus as our example of truly Spirit-led and Spirit-filled ministry. I looked at three aspects of His ministry, His preaching/teaching, His miracles, and His sacrifice. Some scripture I used for this study included Isaiah 61, Acts 10:38 and Hebrews 9:14.

My point is that Jesus was the prime example of what we call "relevant" ministry. He engaged the culture of His day, which appeared to be poor and working class people. He didn't hang with the "important folks" the religious people. Our culture today is a Post-Christian culture. So here's my question to you: what does relevant ministry look like in post-christian and postmodern times? I've read the articles, but nothing communicates like person experience. Share your stories, share your ideas and methods. I look forward to the responses. God bless.


Henry Haney said...

I would have thought you'd have more responses by now, but here goes...

I'm sure there are some who would disagree, but my view of relevant ministry has to do with love, acceptance, and forgiveness. I think these are the basics that everyone longs for but feel that they can't find in the church. Frankly, many churches are nothing more than religious cliques. At Liberty Worship Center (my church) we have made it our business to love all who come within the four walls. Some come...some leave...some stay...but one thing I hear all the time is "your church is a loving church." For me, this is the greatest compliment, for Jesus said it was the hallmark of true discipleship.

Of course love does not mean a watering down of the truth- that's not love at all. True love preaches and teaches biblical truth tempered with patience. People are going to mess up- they're going to blow it- but they need to know we're not going to give up on them. I realize this may not be feasible for every church, but we're not a big church right now, so I make it a point to connect with everyone who comes through the doors. I think people are absolutely SICK of the ivory tower approach to leadership. People want meaningful fellowship, and leadership that truly cares about individual souls and not just statistics.

Wow-sorry to preach!
Happy New Year Pastor Jeff!

Neil said...

Actually I am so old that I didn't have to go through the MIP! I took my exhorter's test in 1980 and my Licensed Minister's in June of 1982, taking the MIP became mandatory at that General Assembly in I slipped under the wire.

I believe that we must present the gospel in a relevant manner, yet without reducing it to a lollipop. People are looking for real, relevant and refreshing, wanting to find out if God is alive in their lives and circumstances. It is a hard thing some times to speak to this generation, they come to church as if it is a mall, looking for all the right programs and possibilities, while we simply want them to know the Lord. In my opinion, we have to balance it all together, find out how we can minister to the entire man and at the same time be true to the Word of God and share the gospel. Not an easy task, especially in our day. Seeker Sensitive and User Friendly have become the key words of our do we do all of that and still be Christ-like?