Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Shepastor: “Understanding Who We are and Where We Are…The Search for Authenticity in the Midst of Ministry”

O LORD, you have examined my heart
and know everything about me.
2 You know when I sit down or stand up.
You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.
3 You see me when I travel
and when I rest at home.
You know everything I do.
4 You know what I am going to say
even before I say it, LORD.
5 You go before me and follow me.
Psalm 139: 1-5, NLT

Who are you? Where are you? Do you know? How are you…not what you present to other people but what is happening down on the inside. Frequently, when we minister to others, we will come face to face with ourselves. If unprepared, the impact could be devastating for you and the one you seek to serve. If you have not explored and honestly confronted your “stuff,” it may be difficult to lead others in that process.

Being true to ourselves…knowing our own weaknesses, strengths, vulnerabilities, giftedness, hurts and scars can position us to be used by God in beautiful and powerful ways.

In The Wounded Healer, by Henri J.M. Nouwen, the power of authenticity in ministry is unpacked…

Ministers are those who can make their search for authenticity possible, not by standing on the side as neutral screens or impartial observers, but as articulate witnesses of Christ, who put their own search at the disposal of others. This hospitality requires that ministers not only know where they stand and whom they stand for, it also requires that they allow others to enter into their lives, to come close to them, and to ask how their lives are connected with one another.

Nobody can predict where this will lead us, because every time hosts allow themselves to be influenced by their guests they take the risk of not knowing how their lives will be affected. But it is exactly in common searches and shared risks that new ideas are born, that new visions reveal themselves, and that new roads become visible.
The Wounded Healer: Ministry in Contemporary Society copyright 2010, Henri Nouwen Legacy Trust, pp., 105-106.

If you have not first explored, unpacked and confronted your own issues, it will be very challenging to enter and to allow others to enter that space where hearts meet, life struggles are shared and new understandings spring forth.

Of course, boundaries must be respected. Authenticity in ministry does not mean “letting it all hang out.” It does mean allowing enough of oneself to be present, open and “real” in order that the one in need of assistance experiences the warmth of humaneness.

May we spend time learning, really learning ourselves…strengths, our gifts, our wounds, our triggers, how our presence impacts a space, so that we are clear about our offerings to those we seek to serve.

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Until next Wednesday,
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,
Pastor Chris

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