What insights did I find helpful:
I thought this chapter began with a really healthy degree of realism. It is very helpful in ministry to remember that life is very difficult for everyone, including pastors like me, and that life is made all the more complicated by the “drama of sin and suffering.” [p38] God “has not given us “seven steps to personal and relational perfection”. Instead, he has told us to place our hope and trust in the presence and work of Jesus the Redeemer. [p38] We want our preaching to shape the way people think about God’s word as a means of redemption not another burden to carry. The helpful thing to take away from this chapter is that the church (that’s us all) is Jesus’ instrument to confront all our sin and brokenness in love and we do it by speaking God’s word to each other in love. We need God to tell us “who we are and what we are to do with our lives.” [p40]
I like the threefold definition of what it means to be human:
Revelation receivers: We are created to be dependent on God because we are human, made that way.
Interpreters: meaning-makers. We not only interpret situations and relationships, we interpret ourselves. Our thinking conditions our emotions, our sense of identity, our view of others, our agenda for the solution of our problems and our willingness to receive counsel from others. That’s why we are dependent on God.
Worshippers: We are made to worship and so all people do it. We worship 1. God. 2. Created things. 3. Self.
God’s grid for viewing life: creation, fall, redemption.
Because we live been the fall and final redemption, sin is still present in my life and other people can see it in me more clearly than I can see it myself. I have spiritual blindspots, therefore, I need close brothers and sisters in Christ to speak the truth in love. I must be open to the counsel of others. Everyone ministers and everyone needs ministry.
What will I do as a result or how will it affect ministry:
As the vicar I need to model openness and humility, I have not done this well in the last year as I have struggled with exhaustion. The important lesson is that we don’t need to create time in the diary to do this, we don’t live in the professional world of performance reviews and CPD, we are God’s church, redeemed people, and so we simply need to engender a culture of 24/7 Christian community and communication as we interpret life and receive the word of God and live a life of worship of God together. Whatever situations arise in our lives and the lives of those around us we need to minister the word of God to each other in a meaningful and edifying way, building each other up according to God’s wisdom.
What sort of informal counselling goes on in Holy Trinity today? How much is our own wisdom and how much is completely dependent on God’s revealed word?