Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:1, 2)
We all have a desire to be needed. If you are a disciple of Christ, that need intensifies in terms of looking for ways to serve in the kingdom of heaven.
Too often, we view ministry as a position; something that is held by a pastor, minister or even a missionary. We tend to look at ministry in terms of preaching, teaching a class or some other “stereotypical” ministry that has been shaped by many churches and leaders. It is an unfortunate way of viewing ministry that has kept many disciples from utilizing the God-given talent within them.
There is one ministry, however, that is sorely lacking in the kingdom. It is a ministry perhaps even greater than that of being a pastor or church leader.
I know of many cases involving disciples facing some very great temptations. Two stand out clearly in my mind. Both dealt with sexual sin; one involved homosexual temptations, the other dealt with pornography.
Both men found someone to share their struggle in hopes of looking for help and deliverance. While they found someone to tell their greatest and darkest secrets, both men soon found they were slowly being alienated by the people with whom they shared their struggles. These men felt abandoned, betrayed and even foolish for telling another about their struggles. And unfortunately, both of these men have left Christianity.
So here is your ministry, if you choose to accept it.
Be a person who others can not only share a problem, be a person who proactively works in the lives of people who share those struggles. A person often feels most vulnerable after they have shared something than when they are sharing it. That is because they are unsure of what the person really feels about them after the secret is out of the bag.
The most needed ministry in the kingdom of God is helping people through their spiritual struggles….and not just being a sounding board for those struggles.
Encourage people going through difficult times. Be proactive. Call them on a daily basis to check on them. Invite them to go have coffee or lunch. Treat them as a friend and not a project. Become involved in their lives. Most importantly, do not be judgmental. Yes, sin is wrong. However, the person sharing their struggle already knows this. After all, that is why they are coming to you. They are looking for help and salvation…not condemnation. This does not mean you condone the sin. It means you are involved in being a change agent in their lives. The key to all of this, however, is that it must be a continual process and not one lasting for a week or so. Continue to be there for the person.
The greatest ministry need is not more pastors to fill pulpits, worship leaders to sing songs or even youth ministers.
The greatest need in the kingdom is one who can gently, patiently and lovingly help restore a fellow disciple to the way of Christ.