Care Ministry

Month: January 2017

The bait or the Bible?

Could it be that church leaders and Christians in general are overlooking, wrongly interpreting, or unaware of what the Scriptures have to say about caring (a.k.a., comforting) for one another?

Throughout The Screwtape Letters, author C.S. Lewis writes that whether in the troughs or peaks of life, the Devil is all about perpetuating lies, anxiety, complacency, and despondency. Moreover, the evil one is doing everything in his power to keep us focused on ourselves so that we turn our attention away from God and one another. The Devil’s plan is simple (and arguable effective):

  • Keep people from “the serious intention of praying altogether.” (p.15)
  • Fix people’s attention inward and so they concentrate on their circumstances and not on God.
  • Do whatever it takes so the people maintain a lukewarm spiritual state.
  • Keep non-Christians and people who are less rooted in their faith away from “experienced Christians” so as to avoid appropriate and encouraging scripture passages from being shared.
  • Cause people to focus on the past and the uncertain future, instead of the eternal and the present.
  • Foster aggravation, confusion, and division so as to keep people away from church and disrupt Christian friendships.
trap

At Care Ministry, we advocate a biblically-based discipling model of care that is Christ-centered and thwarts the Devil’s plan. Our resources and training help churches provide care in ways that ​align with the mission of their church, deepen personal relationships, foster spiritual growth, and build a sense of community.

Embracing Storms

From sprinkles and sudden downpours to hail and hurricanes, weather is unpredictable and can change at a moment’s notice. While some storms may bring much needed rain, others can leave a path of destruction, cause collateral damage, and necessitate rebuilding. The same is true in life, and while the idea of welcoming storms may seem outlandish, according to Scripture, it is clear that storms serve a purpose.

​“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4). ​​

Elephant storm

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning how to dance in the rain.”  ​– Unknown 

God uses storms to get our attention, refine us, and transform us. Also, it is often in the midst of life’s storms that people truly discover their need for God, draw near to him, and experience significant spiritual growth. Knowing that storms are a natural and expected part of life, instead of viewing storms as something to try and divert, evade, or rush through, imagine how things might be different if we did more to embrace storms and comfort people in the midst of life’s storms.

Why Ask Why?

I vividly remember the evening when one of my daughters told me they played the “Why?” game at CRU. Not being familiar with the game, I asked her to explain. In the Why game, once a question is asked (e.g., "How was your day?") and someone answers, the next question is automatically he next question is “Why” (e.g., “Why was your day great?"). She went on to say that to foster genuine relationships, we have to get past the veneer. It made me stop and think about how often we accept what people say at face value without ever delving deeper.

Based on the Laws of Conservation, Momentum, and Energy, certain things are predictable. As Newton’s Pendulum demonstrates, no matter how many times we pull back one steel ball and let it go, the same thing is going to happen over and over again.

Isn't it sad that our human nature is to ask the same question (e.g., "How are you?") and accept the typically response (e.g., "Fine") even though we know that most people are struggling with something?

Newton Pendulum

So, here's a question... Specific to the second part of The Great Commandment – love [care for] people, what are you doing at your church and WHY? Is caring ministry a set of programs, something that has become as “pastoral” responsibility, or are genuine caring relationships part of the DNA at your church?

What's interesting is that in business, what we do and why we do it is based on plans and processes that have been established in order to achieve the desired results. In healthcare, what we do and why we do it is based on best-practices and protocols in order to achieve desired outcomes. The point is that to “succeed,” we must first know what it is that we wish to accomplish and then determine how we are going to achieve our goal.

Whether playing the Why game or caring for people, we have to be deliberate to get past superficial conversations and contrived responses. The resources and support we provide guides church leaders through a systematic process to draw attention to key aspects of caring God’s way and to address care in a way that reflects the aspirations and unique needs of their local church. We welcome the opportunity to discuss your "Why?" and help you take caring to the next level.