Week 2 (first interaction)I tend to divide my life between the spiritual and the secular; between the sacred and the commonplace. As such, there was a time that I viewed only a limited set of activities, such as praying, attending and leading a Bible study, can be considered as ministry.
I was struck by what Stevens said that every Christian should be involved in the full ministry of the Lord through the church. This is what I, and every Christian, should strive for.Week 2 (second interaction)Being labeled a “lay person” in the secular world doesn’t seem to be very good to my ears. According to Stevens, however, there shouldn’t be a division between clergy and lay.
But when I see the job and activities conducted by the pastors, I cringe. How could I ever do those things? In this regard, the suggestions of Bass are very helpful. I can actually become a minister in the things that I do best. I don’t have to be labeled as a “pastor” or a “minister”.
Being a child of God automatically makes me a minister.Week 3 (first interaction)Banks seconded the idea of Stevens that the distinction between clergy and laity should be removed. After all every believer is a “priest” of the Lord. True enough.
Unlike in the Jewish tradition where prayers and offerings have to pass through the Jewish priests, Jesus has made it possible for me to approach God. And that makes me a “priest” and a minister.Week 3 (second interaction)Sunday is the best day of the week because I can be with the Lord. I used to think of it that way.
Banks and Stevens, however, called for the redefinition of work and ministry. As a result of encountering their ideas, it dawned on me that I can be with Lord, not only on Sundays but also on weekdays—at work, at home, wherever I find myself in. Enjoying the presence and fellowship of God on Sundays alone can be a sign of being a part-time believer. The call is for me to practice myself full time and practice my faith all the time!Week 4 (first interaction)“Walk fast, walk quick, the clock is ticking, there are deadlines to beat!” Busyness characterizes the lifestyle of 21st century people.
I am not exempted from that. There are times that I wish I could have 25 hours each day and eight days a week instead of 24/7. Bass’s article came as a rebuke to these musings of mine. God conducted all his businesses in six days and rested on the seventh.
Therefore, I should emulate that and benefit from the rest that the Sabbath offers.Week 4 (second interaction)Society in general can benefit from keeping the Sabbath and resting at least once a week. People who are always in a hurry miss a lot of details in their lives and in the lives of their friends and their loved ones. If we could just collectively practice Sabbath, then perhaps we can achieve make our society better.
As Bass emphasized, keeping the Sabbath contributes to a good society. Our society has good features, yet it can no longer be called a “good society.” Perhaps it’s time we heeded the admonition of Bass and of the Bible-to keep the Sabbath.Week 5 (first interaction)Like sponge absorbing water, so should our faith become a part of everything we do.
This is essentially what Bass was saying. It does not really matter what type of activities those are, as long as our faith is evident in these activities. I know that there are areas of life that are not that easy to be infused by my faith, especially at work and my behavior towards my officemates, yet I try to do so. If I fall, I simply get up again and like sponge, seek to put faith into everything I do.
Week 5 (second interaction)Banks traced the development of the concept of work from the agricultural times down to the industrial age. It’s amazing how it’s changed! Our output now seems more intangible than what it used to be. On the other hand, I was disturbed by what Stevens claimed that our rewards are heaven. It seems that here again is the dividing line being erected between the sacred and the commonplace Did not Jesus, himself, said that the worker deserves his wages? I am enjoying my wages and I think I deserve to enjoy it.
Week 6 (first interaction)The testimonials of celebrities are powerful tools in promoting products. In the same way, testimonials by Christians are powerful tools in promoting the kingdom of God. In view of what Bass said, we need to use the testimonial more effectively. Personally, I find it a challenge to do this.
I have been a church person since I was a child and I do not have a dramatic testimony similar to what I hear on TV or on the radio. I do not want to make up stories either. With Bass’s encouragement, however, I know that my story can have an impact to at least one person. And that gives me inspiration to do it.
Week 6 (second interaction)Our church has not fully enjoyed the power of using the testimonial. Sure there are some of us who share dramatic testimonies, but more people are hesitant to talk about their spiritual lives in front of other people. In promoting the use of the testimony, I will propose that it becomes a part of the weekly prayer meeting. The hesitation of the people to testify might be there at first, but probably, we can start with the answers to our prayers and how God has spoken to us through our quiet/devotional times then from there, we can move on to other areas of faith to talk about.
This can become the beginnings of our church using the wonderful tool of testimonies.Week 7 (first interaction)During worship services, the noise that a child makes can be irritating. I tend to sneer at a mother who allows her child to move around and make some noise. My view is that children should be left at the junior worship or the children Sunday school in order for them not to distract their parents Yet, Garland breaks this view of mine by suggesting that children should be involved in the overall ministry of the church.
If this were done in my congregation, it will take getting used to.Week 7 (Second interaction)The whole family can minister to others—church members, non-members and even to strangers. By opening up the home to ministry within the church and to newcomers, people can also become more connected to the church and they will feel the sincerity of the believers. Clapp’s ideas then can help revolutionize the ministry of the whole church through the families.
The church can be revitalized by involving whole families instead of breaking them down to age level ministries.Week 8 (first interaction)Children have a funny way of being direct and honest. They are free from some of the “polite clutters” that adults use for socialization. Powell has shown the power of children’s ministry.
I was a bit surprised actually since children are usually viewed in my church as recipients of ministry. In fact, they are also viewed as nuisances when they make noise during Sunday worship. But then, children can also present the gospel effectively. Ministries therefore should be developed with the children in mind.
Week 8 (second interaction)Early in life, children should become aware of what they believe and what they want. I, for one have grown up in the church. The lessons I learned from Sunday school and from my interactions with the church leaders and workers led me to who I am now. Likewise, the church should have a number of role models that kids can emulate.
Week 9 (first interaction)I used to associate healing ministry with charismatic evangelists on television who lay their hands on people who get miraculously get healed. This is coupled with skepticism and doubt—are they real? Reading Stevens’ take on the issue of principalities and powers at work in the world helped clarified my views. There are indeed spiritual forces that can inflict diseases on humans. They have to be combated with scriptural weapons available to us.
Week 9 (second interaction)The process of dying is never easy. I have had my share of grief upon witnessing some of my loved ones die. By knowing such grief, I know that it has enabled me to become more capable to identify with those who grieve. As a church, we are called to be a healing community.
Being at one with those who grieve can do a lot in helping them feel the love of Christ.Week 11 (first interaction)There is a need to empower the whole community of believers and equip them to become effective vessels of love of Christ. Bass’s book addresses the need to empower the whole community of believers. The practices he outlined, the issues he identified and the tips he recommended are indeed helpful for Christians and churches in the 21st century who are serious in living out the gospel of Christ.
I do not need to be a “clergy” in order to can help my church grow. By implementing the practices he mentioned, I can do that.Week 11 (second interaction)The 21st century has redefined a lot of the ways that humans do. The church, therefore should also find means in making the gospel message relevant to 21st century men and women.
This entails redesigning and redefining the way that we conduct ministry. This is a challenge. But with the grace of God and with a definite commitment from everyone in the Church, it can be done. Luke 10:7 (NIV)