Caring, Sharing, and Challenging
This question is of immense practical importance. It is one thing for a person to recognize that God has given him the privilege of serving others and being a part of the kingdom of priests that “proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9). It is quite another thing for that person to know how to carry out His priestly duties.
Some time ago we ran across a ministry model that demystifies Christian ministry. Developed by Ed Short of CE National, it divides Christian service into three important and necessary components: caring, sharing, and challenging.
Caring is the component of ministry in which we express love through tangible acts. As Galatians 5:13 tells us not to use our freedom for selfish indulgence but rather to serve one another through love, the Christian who cares for someone in this sense will pursue opportunities to bless that person at the cost of personal inconvenience. In some sense, caring is the visible expression of the truths we proclaim.
Sharing refers to the Christian’s efforts to “incarnate” himself with the person to whom he ministers. Just as “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14), in sharing we say with Paul, “We were ready to share with you not only the Gospel of God but also our very selves” (1 Thessalonians 2:8). Sharing requires the servant to let his hair down, to be himself, to be real with those he serves.
Challenging, the third component of ministry, is the most important of all three. When we challenge someone else, we speak biblical truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). Sometimes this means offering a scriptural encouragement, sometimes a rebuke (see 2 Timothy 3:16,17), but in all circumstances it is an effort to bring God’s Word to bear in someone else’s life in such a way that the person draws nearer to Christ.
The nature of Christian ministry is thus multifaceted, and we would expect someone to be stronger at some of these three components of ministry than others. Let’s learn from one another! Which of these components of ministry is toughest for you? Leave us a comment!
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