Tuesday Re-mix – This is a popular post from last year, updated and resubmitted for your consideration and comments.
Pretty much anybody’s interpretation of Jesus’ ministry has to agree that He was there for wounded people. Whatever else you believe about Him and His purpose, you would be hard-pressed to argue that point. Everywhere He went, He was helping physically, emotionally and Spiritually wounded people. His best-documented sermon, the sermon on the mount, began with some words about wounded people…
Now when He saw the crowds, He went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to Him and He began to teach them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in Spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven; Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted; Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth; Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled…Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven… Matthew 5:1-6, 11-12.
The fact is, Jesus looked out over a motley crowd full of hurting people who had been largely ignored by that society and told them, “I have some great news for you. Heaven wants you, even if nobody around here seems to.” It is a defining characteristic of Jesus: compassion and care for the wounded.
And it should be a defining characteristic of every local body of believers who claim to be following Christ…every single church, every single congregation. A large part of being the New Testament church is looking out at our community and seeing the brokenness and trying to help. That is a given, not really up for debate.
But how do we help? And who do we help? Obviously, not every church can be called to meet every need. World hunger, AIDS, single moms, teenage pregnancies, drug abusers, divorce, homelessness, mental illness, special needs children, and the list goes on and on and on. It would seem that the list of ways a church can get involved in ministry is literally endless. And even if a church could somehow “discern” which type of ministry or ministries God has assigned to it, how in the world does it meet the need? Where does it begin?
Praise be to…the God of all comfort, Who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. II Corinthians 1:4
Here is His answer. Your pews in your church are already filled with people who have been through difficult times in their lives. God has already brought your own people through woundedness. You have some who have come through financial hardship, some who have been divorced, some who have grieved the loss of loved ones, some who have fought addictions, some who have parented special needs children, etc. They are there, in your pews. They have already held God’s hand and found their way through that pain, and they can help others do the same thing. They can be a support for those others, a guide.
It need not be complicated. If I have experienced a particular kind of woundedness, and if I God has taught me some things through that experience, I can help others with that same problem. I can start a support group for those people. My church can sponsor the group and get the word out to the community about the group. People from within the church can come and people from outside the church can come. All I have done is agreed with Jesus, saying to them, “I love you and I want to help.”
And before you know it, my church has a support group ministry and is reaching people who had all but given up on the church. Suddenly, they’re interested in the rest of what we have to say, all because we showed them that we care.
THAT is the picture of the church being the church. It is the picture of Jesus.
If you want to see how one church has done it, check out Heart 2 Heart Ministries.
But don’t get paralyzed by the “how to” or the questions about structure. Just start. Trust the Lord to order your steps. It’s what the church does.
© Blake Coffee
Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way and do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction. For web posting, a link to this document on this website is preferred. Any exceptions to the above must be approved by Blake Coffee.
Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: © Blake Coffee. Website: churchwhisperer.com