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Ministry of Jesus Christ (Part 3)

February 11th, 2012
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How do we move from our safe place in Christ to where people are? While the following description is directed specifically to pastors, we can just as easily substitute “those who serve God.”

Andrew Purves:
Effective preaching arises out of a preacher or pastor, a man or a woman who is embedded with the people and preaches into the context of their pain, preaches into the context of the silence of their cry to God — “Where are you, God?”, and they hear nothing back.

They preach into these terrible cosmic silences and these ambiguities and these confusions that are the normal part of ongoing life. So I think there’s that dual embedded-ness.

One other thought that I’ve played with through the years is that I think all ministry has a “from-to” character.

That is, you move from your place as the pastor, from your life in Christ, from your safe place, to where the people are. That may be not be a comfortable place.

Although I’m well acquainted (sadly) with hospitals because of my own cancer, I don’t like hospitals.

I have a daughter-in-law who is a physician. She’s very comfortable in hospitals. I will never be comfortable in hospitals.

But, you know, hospitals are not my “to” place. And yet as pastors we have to go into these uncomfortable “to” places.

But we can only do what we do in these, as it were, “to” places because we have a deep grounded-ness in our “from” place, and that’s our anchor.

Lessons from Ministry

Ministry of Jesus Christ (Part 2)

January 5th, 2012
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How do we move from our safe place in Christ to where people are?

While the following description is directed specifically to pastors, we can just as easily substitute “those who serve God.”

This is how Andrew Purves described it:

We read in Acts that Paul visited from house to house — all of which is to say the pastor must know his or her people. You’ve got to be involved in their lives. You’re with them in their births and their deaths, and their getting jobs and losing jobs, and in their hospitals and all of their ups and downs. You’re with them.

I think that’s the genius of a pastoral charism, of a pastoral giftedness — that your joy is to walk with these people.

So you know the Lord, you’re embedded in the life of the Lord … when one thinks perhaps of John 15 — you’re a branch connected to the vine, you’re organically connected and you are in Christ, abiding in him.

But you’re also in the people, you’re abiding in them.

Because following Jesus involves people, it can become messy.

As we covered before, life has its seasons and no one’s life follows a pre-planned orderly script.

We are not there with people to have all the answers. We are not counsellors and therapists.

We are fellow travellers who share the troubles, pains and joys of life. We go to the graduation or 21st parties, as well as the funeral homes.

We connect through Jesus, the one who abides in us in the Spirit.

Lessons from Ministry

Ministry of Jesus Christ (Part 1)

December 3rd, 2011
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J. Michael Feazell:
In your book, The Crucifixion of Ministry, on page 128, you wrote, “At its core, pastoral work involves bearing witness to the joining of two stories, the parishioners and God’s.

Who is Jesus Christ specifically for this person amid the particularities and the exigencies of his or her current life experience?”

How does a pastor bring those two stories together?

Andrew Purves:
One other thought that I’ve played with through the years is that I think all ministry has a “from-to” character.

That is, you move from your place as the pastor, from your life in Christ, from your safe place, to where the people are. That may not be a comfortable place.

How do we move from our safe place in Christ to where people are?

All Christian living ultimately involves relationships whether we are a pastor or practising the ministry of all believers.

And while a pastor may have a specific responsibility to oversee a particular community of believers, we are all meant to participate in the ministry of Jesus Christ in service to others.

Lessons from Ministry