Wednesday, May 23, 2007

What pastors do so you can do

Our responsibility, our diakonia, as pastors, is to prepare others for their diakonia, as we are advised in Ephesians 4. It does the local church little good for the pastor to do all the ministries of the church. We have to help the laity recognize their gifts and graces for diakonia. We can hope that once these gifts for service are known that the people will use them for the betterment of the Church. “The greatest challenge facing the church in any age is the creation of a living, breathing, witnessing colony of truth.” I hope the church is up for the challenge of diakonia.

To illustrate, I had a youth in a previous church approach me about discerning a calling into mission ministry. While encouraging her, I mentioned this within the church and spoke to her mom about this great news. Within the week, the student’s grandmother came by my office to inform me that I was no longer to encourage her granddaughter to be a missionary. She explained to me that her granddaughter was not going into the poor neighborhoods of the world to help other people … she was going to go to college. With this kind of attitude the church is bound to fail in its mission from Jesus and the Church to serve the world by being the Body of Christ. My responsibility with youth is to teach and inspire them to be of great use to God, not simply play games for a couple hours each week.

Diakonia, service, is the most important aspect of ministry in the Church. It is how outsiders are going to recognize the God that lives in us. It is a radical challenge for the Church to answer that call to service. Answering that call means being profoundly counterintuitive and risking some discomfort in order to align ourselves with God’s will. This means looking beyond the familiar family and friends and making friends with people outside our cultural comfort zones. This means sharing God’s life-saving message with others even if we may be embarrassed or uncomfortable. This means questioning our motives to see if they are dictated by truth or by culture. This means responding to evil with good. Diakonia may not be easy. It may be risky, but service is absolutely necessary.


Blogger Joann said...

I wonder if that grandmother knows what her calling is?

12:01 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

Geeze, Chris... That's crazy.
I have some close friends who've had similar things happen to them, actually. They (sisters) both graduated very high in their class (1st and 2nd), but they decided to go into preaching instead of a degree like doctoring or engineering, both of which they would be more than good at. They're Jehovah's Witnesses, so a life of preaching is not at all a life of money. People, their mother included, completely disagree with their decision.
On a completely side note, I graduated on the 25th (which, I think, is when you posted this blog). Sorry I didn't send you an invite... I hardly sent any out, 'cause I completely forgot till the last minute.

11:50 PM  

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