The role of the ministry workplace includes the spiritual transformation of those who serve the ministry.
Maybe you have heard a colleague say something like: “This isn’t the place for my spiritual growth; that’s for my church life.” While I understand this argument, I believe it is shortsighted. The ministry workplace also has a role in spiritual development.
We are called to be Christ-centered communities. Any other approach misses the mark of God’s calling on our lives as Christians (Eph. 5:15–16). At Buckner, we have decided to be intentional in facilitating spiritual transformation both in the lives of our team members and in the lives of those we serve. This task is wide in its scope, so we focus on some key truths from Scripture.
The message of hope, faith and love guides our ministry pursuits (1 Cor. 13:13). We don’t have time to waste. So we drill down and highlight how these truths can be more fully realized in the lives of our clients, who like you and me, come from broken places.
We have developed four best practices to serve as metrics for our ministry.
We want those to whom we minister to understand why we want to help them. Specifically we tell the Buckner story of being founded by a pastor who sought to honor God by rescuing, serving and loving children and families in need. Buckner has a history and a heritage that has formed our DNA as a Christian social service provider.
We want prayer to permeate all our endeavors. Our staff, our constituents, and our clients are encouraged to pray, calling on the giver of life, discernment and power. The stories of transformation reflect his work in our lives. Our leadership prays specifically prior to making pivotal decisions. The primary task of Christian leaders is to pray for wisdom as they lead.
We want to provide our clients with opportunities to learn and understand what Scripture says and to apply it to their lives. This holy roadmap cannot be ignored. Though there is much Christian literature and curriculum today, it must only serve as a supplement to the truth of God’s Word.
Finally, we highlight the importance of worship. The local church is the source of sustained training, enrichment and growth. We seek to connect our clients to a church that will walk with them in their faith journey.
Threaded through all of these pursuits is evangelism. Our walk must represent the truth that we teach. We want to be firmly planted in his truth. Our clients seek the hope promised in a life with Jesus. They must have the opportunity to meet him and develop their own personal faith relationship. All of this is built on understanding that we are all valuable and lovable in his eyes. When we understand this and begin to develop the ability to love others with the same unconditional love God offers, spiritual transformation takes place.
These best practices represent our practical organizational efforts, but the only true agent of spiritual transformation is our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The responsibility is too great for us alone.
- How can we support this transformation in those we serve if we as staff are not rooted in these truths?
- How can those we minister to and encourage others to believe in and walk in this truth if we are not personally tapped into the Savior as our life source?
- How can we lead if we fail to first be on our knees, devoting time to develop ourselves spiritually?
Ministry can prove taxing, so we must pay attention to our own personal spiritual journey. In order to feed others, we must be fed. To truly empathize with the hurting, we must come to grips with our own pain and struggles.
When individuals feel free and empowered to fulfill their giftedness and calling, they will be productive.
Jeff Jones is the area vice president for spiritual development at Buckner Children and Family Services, Inc. For more than 136 years, Buckner International has been transforming lives through hands-on ministry, serving the most vulnerable from the beginning to the ending of life. This post is an excerpt from the 2015 Spring edition of Outcomes Magazine.
Register today for The Outcomes Conference, April 19-21, 2016. Learn from leaders like Jeff Jones, who will be sharing about significance of prayer in the DNA of ministry culture, and from Bucker International’s CEO, Dr. Albert Reyes. Be sure to attend his session on Becomng an Agent of Redemption.