All followers of Jesus Christ are meant to be ministers. What does it mean to minister to people? One possible definition is, “to serve people in a way that empowers them and enables them to live fulfilled and productive lives.”
“The Elder, To the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth: Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. For I rejoiced greatly when brethren came and testified of the truth that is in you, just as you walk in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.”
(3 John 1–4, NKJV)
One of the realities that we must confront from time to time is as a minister is, “It’s not working!” If despite our best efforts, what we have learned to do and are practicing in ministry is not working we must be willing to further educate ourselves and to be open to change.
One of my core values as a spiritual leader has been to create SOZO environments. Below I have copied this value from my list of core values.
5. BUILD AND PARTICIPATE IN COMMUNITY
“It takes a ‘we’ to make a ‘me’! “ Ephesians 4:11-16
CREATE HEALING, (SOZO), ENVIRONMENTS
Compassionate – “Love in Action” Speaking the truth in love!
Honoring – “Creating structures through which honor flows”
Prophetic – “Edification, Exhortation and Comfort”
Generous – “Hilarious and Spontaneous”
SOZO is the Greek word for salvation in the New Testament. Doctrinally, salvation includes the imputation of righteousness, the opportunity for physical and soul prosperity, and deliverance from the power of sin. Creating a healing environment is an important ministry tool to enable people to experience the fullness of SOZO. There are, of course, other useful ministry tools such as the ministry of the Word and Spirit, and biblical counseling.
Often it takes a crisis situation before we are willing to accept the conclusion, “It’s not working!” One such crisis situation in my ministry happened when a number of people in rather a rapid succession fell prey to the power of sin. It became apparent that all the tools which had been implemented in the church had not been effective at preventing this crisis. I needed to further educate myself and possibly add some additional tools to our ministry tool-bag.
”Real courage resides in the willingness to challenge your own views, to seek out and accommodate new information and perspectives. Otherwise, you don’t have a belief system. You have dogma.”
Antisocial Media: Go ahead, burst your electronic bubble
by Steve Almond
The Rotarian Magazine
May 2017 Vol.195 No.11 (p.25)
One tool that I discovered was missing from our corporate tool-bag was the ministry of restoration. The ministry of restoration includes within it the ministries of inner healing and deliverance. Personally, and as a church, we began equipping ourselves in this ministry. The first step was to locally host a restoration school created by our covering church. My participation in this school, implementing and practicing the principles of restoration in my counseling ministry, and watching others develop their own restoration ministries in the church over the years, has proven to be personally educational and corporately effective. If I were to list the top two principles of restoration they would be:
Experiencing the Presence of God
Exposing the lies.
For the sake of this article, I am focused on exposing the lies. The lies we believe negatively affect our health and wellbeing. Healing is afforded when the lies are exposed and supplanted by the truth. This principle applies both to the individual and to the corporate body.
There are many historical examples of individuals and people groups who latch on to a lie and the disastrous consequences they experience.
“You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.” (John 8:44, NKJV)
“And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32, NKJV)
I paraphrase of this verse I find insightful is, “It is the truth you know that sets you free.”
“but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—” (Ephesians 4:15, NKJV)
One of the pillars in building a SOZO environment is the truth. The more a people group, whether a local church, a local community or a nation, passionately pursues the truth, the healthier those people groups will be. Leaders who lie, distort the truth or make outlandish unsubstantiated truth claims for their own personal and/or political gain threaten the health and wellbeing of the people they are empowered to serve. Wherever we are submitted to leadership, we must demand truth from those leaders for our own health and wellbeing and the health and wellbeing of our fellow constituents.
“When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; But when a wicked man rules, the people groan.”
(Proverbs 29:2, NKJV)
Ministers of truth serve people in a way that empowers them and enable them to live fulfilled and productive lives.