The Most Important Thing We Are Missing in Ministry

the most important thing we are missing in ministry

It was just a few words in a text, but it took my breath away. My friend wanted to thank me for praying.

I hadn’t told her I was praying for her. But she knew. A few weeks ago, she’d shared some vulnerable pieces of her life after a MOPS meeting. We’d fumbled through the awkwardness and hugged with tear-brimmed eyes.

Sometimes the awkward conversations are the most important ones we can have.

When we move past the “I’m fine” and the feigned smiles and get down to the insecurities keeping us up at night, real conversations begin. Real relationships begin. Instead of merely talking about the church and assembling in a building once or twice a week, we become the church.

But that’s also when the real work begins, and it often sends us running.

Weeks passed, and whenever she would come to mind, I’d say a prayer. Even when I wasn’t sure how to pray, I would stumble through the darkness to bring my friend before the One who is Light.

Our words are never as important as the One who hears them.

I received her text thanking me on a day when I was feeling discouraged. The kids were acting up, the laundry was piled high, and morale was low. And to top it off, I was mulling over the words of my latest rejection letter.

Her confidence that I would pray without being asked lit something inside of me and lifted a weight I’d been carrying all week. I thought, “This is what the body of Christ is about.”

We bare our scars and our weaknesses, but instead of turning away, we lift each other up. We take off the armor of feigned busyness and cell phones, we slow down, and we and listen.

We remember one person is as important as an entire congregation. We remember the angels rejoice in the heavens over one person who comes to Christ. One person equals a party complete with song.

When did I forget that? I can dream about books reaching thousands and words spanning oceans, but until I start with one person, all is lost.

If I forget the infinite worth of one soul, everything else is useless.

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. 

Matthew 10:29 NIV

The person sitting next to you at church with the tattoos and the scars? You may be the friend she’s been waiting to say, “hello.” The reader who likes your post or comments on your blog? She may need prayer or a message of encouragement.

Let’s never forget this: Christ didn’t die for a congregation. He died for individuals with names, faces, and scars.

He bore the scars and sins of many so we could go and love many.

But we must always start with one.

 

Linking up with these communities: #LiveFreeThursday, Grace & Truth

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23 thoughts on “The Most Important Thing We Are Missing in Ministry

  1. Yes, Abby. Right now I am part of a mentor program in my community. The one-on-one time I spent mentoring means so much to me. I think it helps me remember the very thoughts you express here. One person, each person, is important. And those face to face conversations are often just the thing we need to reach one another. Great post, friend.

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    • What a beautiful ministry, Kristine. Those are the types of relationships we so desperately need. Thank you for sharing and for your encouragement, friend!

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  2. Thank you. I lead hymns and and do a little service for shut ins in a hospital setting. Some are palliative and some have medical issues that will keep them on the medical floor for an indefinite time. One of the Sundays I was scheduled in to do a service/lead in some hymns, they had forgot to annouce it and forgot to put it in the schedule. I had everything all set up and no one was coming. After inquirying I realized what had happened, talked with a few of the nurses and in the end there was about 5 patients came. Four of them I knew now quite well. The one lady was new. She was old. I spoke with her and all she did was look at me smiling. I continued to tell her who I was and how happy I was to see her. There was not much of a response from her, I thought she really is not with us any longer. So I opened up with prayer and greeting the ones who came. We started the service by singing “Great is Thy Faithfulness” I am singing and worshiping God and realized the woman, who didn’t seem like she was with us, was in her own way singing. I stepped in front of her still singing and noticed tears running down her face. Every song that was sung she had the same response. My point to all of this is, yes one person. When you suffer from low self worth and God is healing me one lie at a time, when something like this happens, meaning they forgot to announce this, they forgot to put your name on the schedule, it can do a number on someone like me. I was starting to feel I don’t matter again. Like you it only takes one person..

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    • What a beautiful story and testimony, Betty. I can only imagine the smile this image brought to our Father’s face. Thank you for sharing, friend. You bless me today.

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  3. Really enjoyed reading this post as I am mulling on writing a blog post called, “Ripple Effect”. Each of us is so important to God, and that is why Jesus is our “Personal Saviour” and every action is of great significance and God uses it in a ripple effect. Thanks Abby!

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  4. This is so touching, Abby. I’m so glad this woman had someone like you she could feel comfortable enough with to share her vulnerableness. It also encourages me to think that even if our post or prayer can touch one soul, that is already a soul of infinite worth in God’s eyes. I love that Christ “died for individuals with names, faces, and scars.” Thank you. Blessings and hugs to you!

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  5. So good, Abby. Every person matters, but there is such power in starting with one. And this…what we pray isn’t as important as Who we pray to. That really removes the striving to “get it right” in prayer and allows us to simply entrust others to a God who already knows and is able to care for them. Good stuff, friend. xo

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  6. Love this, friend! Especially this line: “We bare our scars and our weaknesses, but instead of turning away, we lift each other up. We take off the armor of feigned busyness and cell phones, we slow down, and we and listen.” Such a needed reminder. Thanks for stopping me and reminding me Jesus cares for individual souls.

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  7. This is so beautiful, Abby and so very powerful. I see God’s Love pouring itself in and through you.

    You know the Bible verse that says we should give without our left hand knowing what our right hand is doing? That’s what you’ve been doing. And why? Because in these quiet prayers, you’ve poured out the Love He’s been pouring into you, just like a little child does in their joyful intent without even realizing it. It’s so incredibly beautiful to behold. Thank you for privileging us with a glimpse into the depths of Christ’s Love for us all, as precious, unique children of the Most High King.

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  8. Love this, Abby! Thank you for the reminder that taking time and pouring into one soul is just as important, if not more important than seeking to minister to the masses through other means. Bless you, dear friend!

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  9. Well said friend! I definitely needed to heart, “We remember one person is as important as an entire congregation,” today. I get so lost who my words aren’t reaching and I am missing out on the wonderful moments in my small group when someone is vulnerable so they can heal. The baring of their scars and how God allows me to be used for his kingdom is much more beautiful than a host of followers that are not in need. Thank you for the reminder. Love this and I’m gonna share it!

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  10. “Our words are never as important as the One who hears them.” – such a great point! Sometimes we never know the impact but we need to simply be obedient to the calling God has given us. Wonderful post!

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  11. I have had similar thoughts lately! I appreciate your reminders here, Abby. I have been thinking a lot about what it means to be the church. You added so many great new insights for me! Thank you. 🙂

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  12. Love this! In a world where mass communication is the supposed goal what a great reminder to keep it simple by reaching out one on one to those closest to you…Our ministry truly starts at home… ♥

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  13. This is a beautiful reminder of what “real, in-the-trenches” ministry is, Abby. It’s not as glamorous as having a magazine article or a book published, but it’s real and powerful. Lately, I’ve been moved to pray for each person leaving a comment on my blog. a Small, teeny, tiny ministry. I’m so glad that woman had someone like you who would pray for her.

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