Jesus assigns His disciples The Great Commission in Matthew 28:16-20. Fulfilling that commandment is important for every believer, not just a church pastor. Training Christians to train Christians is our goal.
When it comes to helping people in the church grow spiritually, we have several different definitions of how we do that. Some would use the word “counseling,” but for many that word has more of a professional connotation. The idea actually is really basic. It means to give counsel, but because of it being owned by a profession, I try to avoid that word in our church.
The second word which could be used is that of discipleship. A disciple is simply someone who follows the teaching of a teacher, and also lives out the teachings. Essentially this is what every Christian is, a disciple of Jesus Christ. That being said, that word has some modern baggage with it. When we think of discipleship in modern America, we often think of a discipleship class or of two or three people who officially meet together on a weekly basis to go over specific material, and then never meet again. There are of course some issues with this, and the word should be reclaimed.
Essentially, with both of these words we are talking about helping people spiritually, which naturally spills into everyday life as well. If you are guiding someone else in life in the ways of Christ, you are doing good God work. The question often becomes, how do I help point people to God and Jesus? I would like to give 10 tips in the next three blog posts that can help you help others.
The first idea is simply listen. As someone who talks a lot, this is not always easy. Also, as someone who is well read and studied in Scripture this is not easy. When we take time to listen we will understand more than if we simply give a quick answer as soon as we hear the speaker. This is especially difficult when something the other person is saying is either unbiblical or we have an answer immediately without hearing all the details.
James 1:19 tells us to both “be quick to listen and slow to speak.” As we listen, we get to hear people’s stories. The more we hear, the more we understand where they are coming from, what struggles they have, where the roots of their struggles may be coming from, and who they are as humans.
2. BE GENTLE AND PATIENT
The second thing we need to do to help people spiritually is to be gentle and patient with them. The beginning of Galatians chapter 6 tells us how to help restore people. When we are helping people they are either “broken” because they have been sinned against, or they have sinned and it has broken them in some way.
Brokenness can happen quickly, but often it happens over time. This also means that the restoration process takes a long time. Because of this we must be patient and gentle. Don’t look at someone as either “broken” or “fixed.” Look at things as a scale, and then celebrate each step along the path with them.
3. BEAR THEIR BURDENS UNTIL THEY CAN
Still in Galatians 6 we see that as we help people spiritually we need to bear their burdens. One reason we do this is often because when people come to us, they can’t bear their burdens on their own. The other thing that often is good is that we can bear someone else’s burden better because their struggle more strength outside of that struggle. We feel the burden much less than they do. So we help lift them up for a while.
Eventually they have to bear their own burdens. So the process should look like a spiritual version of helping others through physical rehab. At first we are doing most if not all the work until the muscle is built up. After a while we are just spotting them, and then they are walking on their own with no assistance or observation.
In the weeks ahead we will continue to build on ideas of how to help people. IF you are helping someone right now, which of these three areas are you doing best in, and where do you need to grow in helping that person grow spiritually?
Thanks for taking time to read this Maddening Theology post. If you enjoyed this content you can find Pastor Tim’s sermons at www.cornerstoneforestcity.org. You can also join us at 520 Marion St. Browndale, PA 18421 on Sundays at 10:45 AM. To make following the blog easier you can also register. You can also join us on Facebook at Cornerstone Forest City. Also, don’t forget to download our APP on iTunes or Googleplay.