- 1 Thessonians 2-4
1 Thess 2:8 We loved you so much that we shared with you not only God’s Good News but our own lives too.
This is how I want to operate in ministry. I have been really asking God, “How do I, not just share the things I see in our students lives, but how do I share my life with them?” I know this involves meals together with them, one on one discipleship times, helping them build relationships in the village, etc. But, how can I enter their lives so I can see life from their perspective?
In 1 Thess 2 and 4, I believe Paul shows a little how he did that:
- 1 Thess 2:13 Therefore we never stop thanking God that when you received his message from us, you didn’t think of our words as mere human ideas. You accepted what we said as the very word of God which, of course, it is. And this word continues to work in you who believe.
- 1 Thess 4:1 Finally, dear brothers and sisters, we urge you in the name of the Lord Jesus to live in a way that pleases God, as we have taught you. You live this way already, and we encourage you to do so even more.
- 1 Thess 4:9-10 We don’t need to write you about the importance of loving each other, for God himself has taught you to love one another. Indeed, you already show your love for all the believers throughout Macedonia. Even so, dear brothers and sisters, we urge you to love them even more.
Paul petitions to them, with the encouragement, “Listen guys, you are already doing these things, but I encourage you to do them even more. Keep doing them, and continue to grow in them even more!
In many ways the orientation families are for us the “crown” of our ministry. They are our pride and joy. Just like Paul said of the Thessalonians. 1 Thess 2:19 “After all, what gives us hope and joy, and what will be our proud reward and crown as we stand before our Lord Jesus when he returns? It is you! Yes, you are our pride and joy.”
Their success will be our pride and joy. We need to communicate this in the beginning. Our evaluation and input in their lives is not for the sake of critique and evaluating if they measure up or are approved. The motivation for how we relate to them is in order to set them up for success. Their success is our pride and joy! Therefore we want to do all we can to help them be successful. Their success in planting a mature church is the goal. Our pride and joy is seeing them be able to do that! We want to help them see and grow in anything that is going to hinder them from doing that. We want them to desire to root out or grow into whatever is going to enable them to plant a mature church!
So, how do we enter into their lives, giving of ourselves, not just standing aloof and evaluating? Pray for us to continue to grow in this. Pray we can petition to them like Paul did, “I thank God for you, every time I pray for you… Listen guys, you are already doing these things, loving each other (1 Thess 4:9), living in a way that pleases God (1 Thess 4:1), I encourage you to do them even more. Keep doing them, and continue to grow in them even more!