Ministry that restores hope

Black Run blog – extending into coaching/ministry Black Run Routine: Stepping out of a routine temporarily is a way people can get some space and hear God afresh.

I AM a trained and ordained minister, and a previous generation would have understood that ministers were the ones that did the ministry. Training and selection count for something; so does the affirmation of a wider body and the touch of the Holy Spirit on the life of one set apart. So I'm no advocate of a free-for-all that doesn't believe we need that kind of lead. I think it's a worrying trend, because people in or around church need to feel safe and not coerced or manipulated or abused spiritually, and pastors guard these values.

It happens. Someone I know was going through a time of genuine disappointment and questioning and with support from others, felt that taking some time out from their fellowship would help. To be told (they were told this!) that they were listening to the devil is both manipulative and abusive. Staying in fellowship in trusting and accountable relationships is a good principle to follow, but there are occasional times for all of us when we need to step back temporarily, get some space and hear God afresh. Jesus headed for the desert alone, others have quiet days or retreats which give God space in our crowded lives, and just to change a routine is to give God new opportunity to talk about His priorities for us. When people need space, they need space and grace, not hussling and harassing.

So good mature pastoral leadership is an essential, but I see that in terms of equipping others to fulfil their ministry well. From the day that we trust Jesus with our lives, know the change of new life and tell a not-yet-Christian friend about it, we are all in ministry. As we go on we become more aware of the our gifts and how God uses how he has made us. Some are great servants and enablers, other are insightful listeners, some have a particular facility to connect with others who may not have much faith, others are encouragers.