What help do you (actually) ask for from Christians?
What help would you like to ask for?
I enjoyed visiting churches while on holidays – I always do. One sermon got me thinking about what help we seek from people in ministry.
(By ‘people in ministry’ I particularly mean people who prayerfully teach God’s word. Employed preachers, Bible study leaders, Sunday school leaders, etc. These people are paid and unpaid, ministering formally and informally. They all lead us to the Lord’s word.)
The preacher shall remain unnamed – because he too was a guest and I do not know his name. He spoke on 2 Corinthians 5, and finished with a great set of ideas for putting into practice this part of God’s word.
- Practise telling your own Christian story in a way that explains Jesus more than it glorifies yourself
- Memorise helpful Bible verses to share
- Learn a simple way to explain the good news of Jesus, a gospel outline
- Get training in how to lead a Bible study for a person who is investigating Christianity
Great ideas! And a good encouragement at the start of a new year. Thank you, anonymous preacher-man.
This where my experience as a paid minister kicked in. I considered the things people ask me to help with. The list is long, and has a huge range.
- Can you help us find more musicians?
- I’m moving to the area, can you help me look for a house?
- Can you alter my place on the roster?
- Did you find my Bible after church on Sunday?
- Can you conduct my wedding?
- I’m about to have an operation but forgot to bring money – can you pay today and I will pay you back? (Only once!)
- Can you help me move?
- Can you witness me sign this government form?
- Could you visit me in the hospital locked ward?
- My son lives near you. Could you drop in to see if he is safe and OK?
- Can you print my assignment?
- Can you be my referee for a job/rental application?
It’s amazing to touch so many parts of people’s lives. I feel this as a privilege to accept, and a responsibility to honour with discretion and privacy. I don’t want these requests to stop. (If I can’t do them, I know how to say ‘no’.)
But what if people were limited to just four of five requests they could make? Or, to put it differently, what if I could specify the requests that I most want to hear?
If that were the case, my list would look like the conclusion to that holiday sermon. The requests I love to hear are these:
- Can you pray for me?
- Can you tell me more about this Jesus guy, I need to know about him?
- I trust the Bible, can you help me with its teaching?
- Can you help me grow in serving Jesus?
These requests bring a smile everyday of the week.
Since these are so important, my role is to make them happen more and more. That’s what ministry is. As for Christian maturity: that is the wisdom to ask for these things.
So go on – ask me!