Finally, then, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. (1 Thessalonians 4:1 ESV)
In this verse, Paul reminds the Thessalonians that they are doing a great job walking with God, but he tells them they need to do this “more and more.” They cannot stop learning and doing more; they need to be continually thinking about what can they do next as they serve their Savior.
This is our charge as well. When we are doing “more and more,” we are able to develop vibrant ministries that reach God’s children and those who don’t know Jesus yet.
Let’s consider three key components of vibrant ministries.
- Vibrant ministries are Christ-centered. Whenever the children of God gather, we share Jesus. When planning experiences, all workers involved discuss how the participants will recognize Jesus’ presence during the event. No one ever leaves a meeting or an event without knowing that Jesus loves them, covers them with his grace, cares for them, and is always with them.
- Vibrant ministries are relational. No matter what group of people we are serving, we are making every effort to help individuals develop relationships. Relational ministry means that all gatherings include time for people just to be together in community. They have time to get to know one another, either informally or through small-group discussions. They are encouraged to share their feelings and ideas. They come together to engage in hands-on service activities like making blankets or preparing meals for homeless families. For example, when children gather, they are given time to play and simply have fun. When adults gather, we encourage conversation instead of immediately diving into an agenda. They are given time to share stories of the joys and challenges of their lives. We listen to their stories while providing support and encouragement.
- Vibrant ministries focus on creating a learning community. We create this type of community for the planners and the participants. Ministry planners are actively involved in the development process. Their ideas are valued and incorporated into the event. The learning community engages in a continuous process of planning, implementation, and evaluation. Planning for the next event reflects feedback received from the evaluation of the previous event.
Attendees are also learning. Children are learning about Bible stories, prayer, and worship. They also learn how to share Jesus’ love with others. Adult education opportunities provide a variety of ways to learn. Some learning can be shared in a lecture format, but thought-provoking questions followed by group discussions are also helpful.
Keeping our ministry vibrant is hard work. It’s challenging. It takes dedicated time and effort. But we have to keep looking at our work with a critical eye, asking ourselves how we can do “more and more” for his children. When we do this, we are helping all ministry members develop a deeper faith that truly enriches their lives “more and more.”
You are welcome to copy this article for one-time use when you include this credit line and receive no monetary benefit from it: © 2017 CTA, Inc. Used with permission.