Have you noticed how often the preposition “with” is used in the Bible?
Ruth said to Naomi, “I will go with you.”
God said to Moses, “I will be with you.”
Emmanuel means, “God with us.”
Jesus said, “come with me and I will make you fishers of men”…..”take nothing with you”….. “and remember, I am with you until the end of the age.”
One of the most comforting comments I can receive from a friend is when they tell me they are with me. They can’t fix the problem, or change the situation, but they are with me in it. Telling someone you will go with them, be with them, and are with them, is a tremendous gift. Knowing someone is with you, even in your failures and disappointments, your struggles and your imperfections is the mark of a true friend.
There is no greater friend than the one who says, “I am with you.” Meaning, “I hear you. I understand. I won’t forget this conversation.”
Ministry in its truest form is really about being with people in their daily lives. It’s about being authentic and non judgmental. And it about invitation. The church is not a distributor of goods and services, its a place that does good and serves.
In January, our Elders, Board of Deacons, and Trustees all got together for a day long retreat. It was the first time, in a long time, that all three leadership groups were together as one. The leaders recognized that there were many untapped resources and gifts in the congregation and that they needed to stop thinking about their area of ministry in isolation from one another and start thinking about the church as a whole.
After a long and healthy discussion where they talked about overcoming past grievances and moving on and asking the question, “what is God’s purpose for us today?” It was determined that the leaders wanted to engage in shared ministry.
For the next year the common theme all ministries will raise as the most important is: “come with us.”
No ministry will be done in a vacuum or by one individual. The most important question we need to be asking right now is “who can we invite to come with us in this ministry?” We can invite individuals and groups and other committees to pray with us, to do mission projects with us and to worship with us and we can ask if we can go with them to do the same. We can invite the community to be with us and we can be with them.
Ministry is about invitation to serve and worship. It’s about being with each other in the doing. Ministry is active. It’s an adventure.
“For where thou goest, I will go.”
Ministry is about being. It’s about being with people in their daily lives. It’s meeting them where they are and being with them as God takes them where they need to go. It’s about showing up and listening and being present. “I’m here. I’m with you. I’m not leaving.”
Jesus, “stay with me as I pray.”
Are you with me?
“COME TO ME with all your weaknesses: physical, emotional, and spiritual. Rest in the comfort of My Presence, remembering that nothing is impossible with Me. Pry your mind away from your problems so you can focus your attention on Me. Recall that I am able to do immeasurably more than all you ask or imagine. Instead of trying to direct Me to do this and that, seek to attune yourself to what I am already doing. When anxiety attempts to wedge its way into your thoughts, remind yourself that I am your Shepherd. The bottom line is that I am taking care of you; therefore, you needn’t be afraid of anything. Rather than trying to maintain control over your life, abandon yourself to My will. Though this may feel frightening— even dangerous, the safest place to be is in My will. “For nothing is impossible with God.” LUKE 1 : 37 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. EPHESIANS 3 : 20 – 21 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. PSALM 23 : 1 – 4”
― Sarah Young, Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence