I see people all the time searching feverishly to find their perfect place of service. Some people refer to this as their “best ministry.” Maybe the Worship Team audition didn’t go as planned (you’re not sure why – you sound GREAT in the shower) and your one night on Tech Team ended with the fire alarm going off. Perhaps you are discouraged and thinking you may never find your “best ministry.”
It is certainly great to understand your giftedness, abilities, and passions, and use them to serve the local church. Unfortunately, in this search, people sometimes miss their best ministries right in front of them.
Check out these five things that could actually be your best ministries…and be sure not to miss the last point!
What?! Friendship is a ministry? Yep.
Think about it:
Has there ever been a time you felt alone and someone unexpectedly befriended you?
How did that make you feel? What did that do for you?
The Bible describes the beauty and value of friendships…
“As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” – Proverbs 27:17
“Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.” – Ecclesiastes 10:9-10
We were created to live in community, so healthy friendships is something we all crave…even the people that pretend to want everyone to leave them alone. Because of this, simply befriending someone could be a life-changing experience for them!
While it is great to have a few close friends that can be your source of strength, encouragement, and accountability, let’s not miss the opportunity to have meaningful relationships with a lot of friends. Don’t miss the opportunity to change someone’s life by reaching out to them.
Consider the implications of reaching out to someone, according to Matthew 25:37-40,
“Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’”
So as we reach out to others, God is honored.
Can we agree that befriending someone is something easy and meaningful we can do?
Prayer is not only the single greatest untapped power that is available to every Christ-follower, but it is also an incredible ministry. Have you ever had someone tell you they were praying for you, and you believed them? How did that make you feel? I bet you felt incredibly loved and valued that someone took the time to petition the Creator of the Universe on your behalf.
And you know what else? Prayer makes a difference.
“And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him.” – 1 John 5:14
Consider the reality of that. God. Hears. Us. God wants us to pray to him and he hears us. Scripture urges us to use this privilege to pray for others.
“I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them.” – 1 Timothy 2:1
“The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years! Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops.” – James 5:16-18
So prayer is powerful. Praying is something you can do. And praying for others really does make a difference.
What types of prayers should we pray for others? Would you say praying for others is something meaningful you can do?
We all love to be invited to things. Invitations communicate that you are wanted, valued, and appreciated. Did you know that a simple invitation can be life-changing? Consider this:
Nearly 90% of new church attenders come to church because of a personal invitation from a friend.
I could tell you story after story of students whose lives have been change as the result of a simple invitation. How easy is it to invite someone to church, a movie, or a small group!? Your invitation could make all the difference in the world to them.
Just recently I baptized an incredible high school student who told me her life was changed by an invitation to a Wednesday night Gathering at Sugar Hill Church. She had never been to church in her life and she came that night and felt such love and acceptance, that she came back the next week. She has been coming every week since for the past year. (More of her story later…)
An invitation to church is pretty easy. There are other life-changing invitations we can make that include an invitation to explore faith more, to trust Christ, or to be bold in living one’s faith.
What are some life-changing invitations you can make this week? Would you say that giving a personal invitation to someone is something you can do?
How many conversations do you have a day? What percentage of those would you consider to be “meaningful” (about more than just sports, weather, gossip, etc.)? Consider how many “good friends” you have that you never have meaningful conversations with. (Why is that?)
In a world where “communication” is largely texts and tweets, people hunger to be heard and to have meaningful conversation. In a society of soundbite communication, people long to be understood.
Here is the problem with that… we were created to live in community where we can know others and where we can be known. This is why a simple meaningful conversation with someone could be life-changing for them.
What could make a conversation meaningful?
– Simply asking questions following an event or small group.
– Continuing a serious conversation.
– Bringing up spiritual matters.
– Asking someone their thoughts on things that matter most in life.
Remember the student that was invited by a friend to church and felt so accepted that she came back? Over the following weeks her friends would have conversations with her about what she was hearing and learning at church. These friends (for the first time) were having meaningful conversations about faith, God, and life. Several months after she first came, this girl trusted Jesus, was baptized, and is growing so much in her faith! A year later, she is leading worship and is making an incredible difference for Christ.
It began with an invitation followed by conversation.
How can you have a conversation this week that could be life-changing for a friend? Would you say that having meaningful conversations is actually possible?
I know what you may be thinking, “Wait a second…making-disciples? All of the other things were pretty easy, but I can’t make disciples.” Well before you stop reading, check out this NEWSFLASH:
If you are doing the above things with intentionality, you already ARE doing disciple-making things.
Perhaps this is hard for you to believe because you have these ideas that “disciple-making” is reserved for the spiritually elite. For so long, I used to think that making disciples sounded like really hard work and required the following:
– Seminary degree.
– Thick, like really thick Bible.
– A fancy journal (not from Walmart, but from Lifeway or something).
– Commentary set (from a dead guy with weird last name).
– Deluxe hi lighter set.
Well, contrary to perfectly staged social media posts, discipleship is not limited to an artsy landscape that includes coffee, books, thick Bibles, highlighters and a fake leather-bound journal.
Now it may include those things, and certainly some of those elements are very important (Bible = very important, hi lighters = just fun.), but that is not the SOLE picture of discipleship.
Jesus repeatedly gave us great examples of discipleship in how he related to others. Throughout his ministry, we see Jesus:
– Reach out to others (befriend)
– Meet their physical needs
– Engage in meaningful conversation focused on truth
– Invite them to walk with him.
– Model for them a life that honors God.
I’ve got news for you… if you can intentionally build relationships, pray, invite, engage in meaningful conversations, and walk with others, you can make disciples!!!
Let’s get over our fear of making disciples and be about the greatest mission that Jesus gave each of us in Matthew 28:18-20,
“‘I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’” – Jesus
And as you are about the work of doing these things, don’t miss the incredible promise Jesus gave us,
“And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
That’s great news! Consider this:
Perhaps your “best ministries” happen moment by moment as you simply live in the reality that Jesus has not only called called you, but also empowered you to change the world as you abide in him.
Maybe disciple-making is not something to be feared, but something that happens organically as you intentionally live in this reality.
Perhaps you have been dabbling in your best ministries without even realizing it.
And perhaps these best ministries, empowered by Jesus, might just change the world!
Have fun today living that out.
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Group discussion starters:
How many friends do you have?
Has there ever been a time you felt alone?
Have you ever had someone unexpectedly befriend you? How did this make you feel?
How often do you pray?
What do you mostly pray about?
How have you felt when someone told you that they were praying for you?
What types of prayers should we pray for others?
How many of you like being invited to things?
What’s the greatest thing you’ve ever been invited to be a part of?
How did you feel when you were invited?
What are some life-changing invitations you can make this week? (Church, camp, etc)
What are some creative ways you can invite others to these opportunities?
How many conversations do you have a day?
What percentage of you conversations a day would you consider to be “meaningful” (about more than just sports, weather, gossip, etc.)?
How can you have a conversation this week that could be life-changing for a friend?
What do you think that “making disciples” looks like?
How hard do you think this may be?
What is the great news (and promise) from Jesus regarding making disciples?