Seminars/Talks/Lectures

DISCOVERING AND DEVELOPING PARISHIONERS TO BE HELPERS IN THE ORDAINED MINISTRY

To me, this topic is new! I don’t know whether it is new to you.
When we think of the Clergyman and how he must have a fulfilled ministry, the normal way to feel is: I want to have a fulfilled ministry. I must do all I can to have a fulfilled ministry. When I see those who are ready to help me, I thank God for them, I love them, I encourage them. When I see those who are not ready to help, I take it as normal. “It is to be expected: everybody can’t support a good cause now! But they must not deter me.” If I want to take a “spiritual”, “biblical” approach, I forgive them, I pray for them, I correct them if they teachable. If they are not teachable, I ignore them and avoid them.

If I want to take a business-like approach, I ignore them and pray to God that their opposition does not succeed. I can go ahead and confront them and pray against them. I can declare war against them. That war can take a political form (e.g. war of propaganda). It can take a spiritual form. It can take a diabolical form!!!

I say this topic we are considering this afternoon is new because it seems to suggest that all that approach outlined above is not good enough: the bad you ensure do not frustrate your ministry; the good you use, you appreciate, you encourage and you keep in touch even after leaving the station.

At best, with this method you keep them as you meet them.

But this topic is suggesting that part of our ministry is to develop parishioners to be helpers, supportive.

It even talks about DISCOVERING. And that word “Discover” suggests that they may not even be aware of their potential to be helpers.

We now have to DISCOVER them and DEVELOP them.

To do this, a question needs to be faced: how do you want HELPERS to help?

a. Maybe they should finance you personally (pay children s school fees, settle health bills etc.)
b. Maybe they should finance the church. I believe this should be our emphasis rather than (a). Matthew 6:33. Yes, members should be concerned about the welfare of their Clergyman. We should even teach them that
i. This is their duty. 1 Cor. 9:11.
ii. God notes and rewards such. Mark 9:41.
But it needs a lot of caution. And in any case “I lift up my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from? ....................??

So watch out!

c. Serving the church, helping others. 1 Cor. 12:28.
d. Using gifts of administration to help the church.
e. Encouraging others.
f. Leading in the spiritual programmes of the church e.g. Teaching (Sunday School, Bible Classes, Bible Study, Follow-up/Converts’ class)
Prayer meetings, prayer warriors, vigils, evangelistic activities, outreach, missions
g. Music, accounts, maintenance and other more technical areas.
h. Exercising more delicate (more controversial) gifts of the Spirit: prophecy, works of miracles, faith.

These are just some ways our members can become helpers in the church.
We can go on! What this topic is saying is that there are many talents and spiritual gifts among our members which are waiting to be discovered and encouraged and developed. It is also saying that when we as clergymen do this, the parish will be enriched in several dimensions and our own ministry will be fulfilled.
It is demanding, though! You must look for those talents; you must train, watch, monitor etc. it is far easier (and faster!) to do it yourself.
What is our own role as Clergymen, leaders in the parish?
a. Pray for a spirit of discernment, grace to spot abilities, talents and gifts. They are there in the congregation: but sometimes they are hidden and need to be discovered.
b. Do a lot of teaching on this:
Bible study Teaching sermons
Follow up, discipleship class should feature this
Particularly in the Anglican Church we have too many spectators, bench-warmers, “hit-and-run” members. They don’t want to get involved, committed. Some are deliberately doing this, but teaching can persuade them.
Some are genuinely ignorant: teaching can inform them.
Some are shy: teaching can re-assure them.
c. Don’t be afraid that when people exercise their gifts, they will “steal your show”! People who helped me in life and in the ministry were those who were not afraid of somebody stealing their show. They had their own self-worth, they had confidence in themselves and knew that God would protect them and back them up.

Samson Sodipe

 

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