Give them the words of God. That’s how to do ministry.
Oh, I suppose there is more to it, but giving people the Word of God is the absolute basis of all ministry. It is the key. We know this because it’s how Jesus did ministry:
For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. John 17:8 (ESV)
And then later He said:
I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. (Joh 17:14 ESV)
And finally, He prayed the Word into them:
Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. John 17:17 (ESV)
This Word-centered ministry principle holds true whether you are thinking of corporate church ministry (preaching), ministry to your own kids (family devotions/bedtime reading), or one on one ministry (discipleship/mentoring):
- In the church, the Bible, not man’s ideas, must be preached. And it is wisest when the standard plan is preaching through a book or a larger section of Scripture. This way preachers will be less guilty of getting their own ideas and searching the Bible for support.
- In the family, even the dad or mom who doesn’t feel they know the Bible well, can simply read it to their kids. When they are small, reading a children’s Bible like The Jesus Storybook Bible is terrific, but then turning to an adult version can be done when they hit middle school. They won’t understand everything, and neither will you (or me!), but the fact is that for every time you scratch your head, there will be 10 truths that you and they will understand quite clearly…and the Word of God will do its work.
- In one-on-one mentoring, I think it was probably a Navigator (specialists in this kind of ministry) who once told me what to do whenever I met with someone for mentoring and discipleship. He said to do two simple things: 1) share the Word, maybe a verse you read in a recent quiet time, or a biblical truth you heard in a sermon, and 2) pray for them.