Nov
22

Four Unique Ministries for Today’s Church

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FOUR UNIQUE MINISTRIES FOR TODAY'S CHURCH
by Eddie Lawrence

Text: 1 Thessalonians 5:14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all.

Toward the end of his first letter written his friends in Thessalonica, Paul gives in machine gun fashion a final list of exhortations for them to keep in mind as they live and minister together. In verse 14, he lists four things. I want to share that these four things represent some very unique ministry opportunities. In this day of new and dazzling changes, maybe these could be brushed up and re-presented to today's church.

1. THE MINISTRY OF ADVANCE NOTICE (Warn the Unruly)
-Part of the ministry of the church is to help people see the consequences of wrong choices.
-Notice that Paul points out the "unruly." There is a special need to help people who begin to break the rules to understand that their choices will bring unwanted and unnecessary pain to their lives.
-All of us need someone who will do this for us when we start going astray.
-After the fact warnings do little good to help us and usually make us struggle toward those who could have helped and chose not to do so.

Illus–Former Alabama Head Coach Gene Stallings (who coached the 92 National Championship team) said that when Bear Bryant first talked to him about being an assistant for him while he was still in the State of Texas, he was informed by Bear similar to this: "Now Gene I plan on bringing you on staff to help me. If other people find out that you are coming before I make the announcement, then you aren't coming!"  Stallings commented that you can rest assurred he did not breathe a word to anyone. Bryant chose the right time and the right way to communicate simply how Stallings needed to proceed.

The rest of the scripture also lets us know that this advance notice should be done in a very respectful and loving way. The general principle is start with a soft reply; if unheeded increase volume; if still unheeded YELL!

So:
Choose the right time
Choose the right way
Leave the relationship intact

2. THE MINISTRY OF ENCOURAGEMENT (Comfort the Fainthearted)
-There is a time in all of our lives when what we need most is a simple word or act of encouragement
-Rest assured that where the Holy Spirit is allowed to work, a lot of encouragement will take place.
-Think of the times in Scripture when God says "Be of good courage."
-Some people are very gifted encouragers. Notice how people always gravitate toward them like kids to a bubble gum machine
-Fainthearted means our courage has ran away and we are struggling with moving forward. Learn to give people a verbal waterbreak with the words you speak. It is interesting that Paul realizes some people need a warning but some people just need encouraging. The discerning beleiver will know the difference. Typically the unrepentant need warning and the struggling believer just needs encouraging.

3. THE MINISTRY OF SHORING UP (Uphold the Weak)

-This is when we help people who are under more pressure than they can handle.
-Most of us have also had these times in our lives.
-You feel overwhelmed and buried by your circumstances
Illus–In construction when they dig a deep trench to install a pipeline, when the dirt walls are soft and caving in, they have to shore them up to stop potential disaster and in order to get the job done.
There are times when the church has to do this for people who are in cave-in situations.

4. THE MINISTRY OF PATIENCE (Be Patient with All)

-The is one of the primary ministries for dealing with people in general.
-It takes time to do things with people. Often you can do it alone quicker, but living your life in isolation may position you to be alone when you really do need help.
-In our fast paced western culture, we often feel we don't have time to deal with difficult people. The result, people are thrown under the bus and we move on down the road. Is this the Jesus way? Is this how he has dealt with you?

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