It’s crazy to think that I’ve been in full-time vocational ministry for almost a decade now. I had my early beginnings at Thomas Road Baptist Church, in Lynchburg, Virginia. Throughout my entire time in ministry one thing has remained constant, relationship. Relationship with God, relationship with coworkers, relationship with volunteers, relationship with family. Without relationship there is no ministry. Yet it’s easy to get blindsided by the constant barrage of programs: outreach events, serving events, and fun-for-fun’s-sake events. Events aren’t bad, events that get in the way of ministry are.
Is it possible to forget that we are ministering in the midst of serving at a soup kitchen or a medical relief warehouse shipping boxes overseas? Absolutely.
Is it possible to focus on the need for volunteers to help run our programs that we miss building into the relationships with them, just because we want to know them? Sadly, yes. I love Root’s thoughts on this subject.
“Relationships are the very point of ministry; in and through relationships people encounter the person of Jesus Christ and therefore given their own personhood – a true personhood free of sin and death.” —The Relational Pastor
Relationships are of the utmost importance. It’s our relationship with Jesus that brings about new life in us. Root remarks: “The personal empathetic encounter possesses the power to bring forth transformation, to bring change to the person. Personal encounter is transformation (even conversion); encountering the person of Jesus, people are called to follow him, to sell everything to follow him.”
Relationship costs us something. It means being vulnerable and open and honest. Relationship is the vehicle, model, and mode in which ministry happens. Root does a great job diving deeper into what it looks like to have a mindset focused in true relationship in the middle of a fast-paced event driven culture.