When you invest your life into someone; as a pastor, mentor, friend, helper, brother – you’re loving one person — just one — in many ways. Many many ways. Time, meals, prayer, hugs, bible-reading together, the works.
But by doing that, you’re implicitly choosing NOT to love many people. As finite, limited, time-bound creatures, we just can’t love many people in many ways.
But, we do find ourselves loving many people in a few ways; preaching, leading prayers, teaching scripture, uploading the sermon for other people, photocopying the outlines. All these activities love many people, sometimes 100s or 1000s of people. But they only love them in a few ways. They’re not holistic expressions of love, but they are expressions of love non-the less.
1. A body of people can love each other in many ways when they all take care of loving the many in a few ways (sounds very 1Cor12 right?)
2. Most (but not all) “loving-many-in-a-few-ways” are formal ministry roles. Most (but not all) “loving-few-in-many-ways” are informal ministry roles.
3. Have you thought about how many you’re loving in a few ways? Or who you’re loving in many ways?
One of my responsibilities is to help pastor everyone at our church to have servant hearts and find their way into serving in formal ways at HBC. We recently sat down and realised that the types of roles we would like (and need) people to jump into aren’t always that obvious.
Either they don’t know it’s an option, or they don’t realise we need people to step up.
We also realised that people probably didn’t have an idea that there were levels of responsibilities, and we needed people to keep stepping up into greater levels of leadership.
So we put out a one-pager that we can put in front of people and say, “hey, can I talk to you about where you might fit now, and where you might fit in the next few years…”
See it here. What do you think?
There’s two ways of thinking about ministry; One type of ministry work is being the structure asset; the person who makes the structure work, who can gather the people and make the formal, programmed event happen. You can run a class, run a growth group, preach a sermon. We love these guys!
The other type of ministry work is being a broken play asset. “Broken play” is a concept in sport where the ball is in play, but neither team has a set play in action, it’s almost every man for himself, but there’s still team work going on. These are the people who hang around after the class, after the growth-group, after the sermon. They just sidle up beside someone, strike up a conversation, and apply the word of God into that person’s life.
Notice that broken play ministry is NOT just having a good conversation with someone. It’s got to be ministry – applying the word of God into someone’s life.
Yes, some people find this type of ministry easier than others. But this is something we should all try and develop skills in; becoming a team of broken-play experts.