Bridging the cracks

Church bulletin:

Regrettably, people fall through the cracks. It happens with healthcare, education, welfare, and it happens in the church. I have especially felt conscious of this as lockdown ended. I regularly contacted church family either by Zoom, phone call or a WhatsApp / text message. The other elders also did the same. Not everyone, however, was contacted. Being well organized and having lists goes a long way to overcoming this problem, nevertheless, it is not a foolproof measure. Providence intervenes and people are missed.

It is a reminder of the importance of what is sometimes called ‘body ministry.’ The term ‘ministry’ can be misunderstood, confined to the formal ministry of church officers. Body ministry means that we all, as members of the body of Christ have a responsibility to care for one another. It is not left to the officers alone or just a handful willing to have their names added to a roster. We are all meant to contribute to the lives of others according to our circumstances, our gifts, our opportunities etc. We won’t minister in the same way, but we should endeavor to extend ourselves for the benefit of God’s people.

Eph 4:16, [Christ] from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.”

1 Peter 4:8-10, And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.” (9) Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. (10) As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”

What does body ministry look like? It looks like friendship. It looks like meaningful engagement. It looks like an invitation to a café. It looks like hospitality in the home. It looks like meeting practical and spiritual needs. It looks like a listening ear. It looks like sending a gift. It looks like personal sacrifice. It looks like making time. It looks like going out of your way. It actually looks a lot like the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ – albeit without turning water into wine and feeding thousands on a piece of fish and minimum chips.

Three questions for reflection

* How do I regularly minister to other people? – Don’t just think in terms of relatives and close friends.

* If I am hindered from ministering to others, what do I need to change?

* In what ways can I use my recourses, my time, my gifts to be a blessing to God’s people?

Three exhortations to provoke

* Let us regard ourselves as the Lord’s ministers and use His provision to be a blessing to others.

* Let us seek out and pray for opportunities to minister to other people

* Let us not make excuses for ourselves – I am too busy, I am shy, I have young children, I am single, I have nothing to offer. If you are in the body of Christ, you have a part to play.

Unfortunately, cracks in church life will appear, but let us as members of the body do our bit to minimize them.