Sometimes, I think we make ministry way more complicated than it needs to be. We agonize over curriculum, content, and delivery, and while these things are important, they should not be our focus. When they are, I think we miss out on the simplicity of what God is actually asking us to do as ministers. Because honestly, all God really wants us to do, is just tell people the truth.
“Right. Yeah, Alyssa. I’m already doing that. I’m not lying to them. Duh.”
That’s not what I mean.
“I am the way, the surface answer and the life.”
“I am the way, the textbook definition and the life.”
He said the truth. What did He mean by that? I don’t think He meant data figure, or observable facts, or what the curriculum says. I think that what Jesus means by truth is this: the actual reality of what God is doing. That’s it. That’s the answer. So, what is God doing? Find that, share that, help others live in response to that, and that’s our job in a nutshell.
3 ways for you to always speak truth as a minister:
Get a pulse on what God is doing in your life.
We live in a world that likes to treat God like the tooth fairy. People need to know that God is. He still moves and works in our lives. That’s one of the reasons that testimonies are so powerful. If God can work in your life, He can work in theirs. People need to know that. They need to be invited into the adventure of a relationship with Him. Discover the truth of what God has done for you, is doing for you. Ask for the Holy Spirit to bring you authentic awareness. Spend time thinking about this in prayer. Identify the God moments of your life and then tell your young people what God has been up to. This is truth they need to hear, truth that witnesses to the power and presence of God.[tweetthis]If God can work in your life, He can work in theirs. People need to know that[/tweetthis]
Get under the surface – Ask how. Ask why. Ask what does this look like.
I lead a Bible study at a Catholic school. The other day, we were talking about baptism. I asked the youth what happens during this sacrament. Rapid fire textbook answers – “We’re cleansed of original sin. We’re brought into God’s family.” Great. These are all true and beautiful things. But, our youth need to go deeper. So I asked another question – “How?” Confused looks. “The water.” – “Nope, the water is a symbol. Tell me what’s going on inside.” Repeat textbook answers. Repeat question – “How?”
Eventually, I got them to the heart of the sacrament, the answer to the question – the movement of Holy Spirit. They could quote textbooks, but their answers were hollow, because they didn’t know the deeper truth, that baptism is all brought about by the sacrifice of Jesus and the working of the Holy Spirit upon our souls. Then we had a lovely discussion about what this means for our lives, that we have the Spirit of God within us and when we come up against temptations and struggles, we need to cling to that Spirit and ask for help.
When we’re teaching anything, whether it’s the sacraments or Scripture, we need to be asking why and how and what it means for our lives and thinking about what it actually looks like. What’s the deeper reality here? What’s God doing? That’s the truth we’re looking for, the truth that opens our eyes to what life really is.[tweetthis]What’s God doing? That’s the truth that opens our eyes to what life really is[/tweetthis]
It’s about the nail. Speak the words they need to hear.
Here’s something else Jesus wasn’t about, telling people what they wanted to hear just for a temporary fix. I don’t know if you’ve seen the video with the guy and the girl with the nail, (Click here to see it. We’ve shown it at nights before to make various points.) but at the end of the day, the fact is, it’s really about the nail whether the guy says it is or not. That’s a hard truth to stick to. But our young people don’t need us to just say what they want to hear. They need us to be honest with them and tell them the truth, even if it’s hard.
One of the small groups I run is a group of prize fighters. Every week, they’re talking about who’s angry with this person, and who’s fighting that person. It changes every time I see them. But what doesn’t change is my response. Every week, I try a different way to point out how this fighting really doesn’t get anybody anywhere, that it just causes brokenness. Deep down, they already know that, but they still need to hear it. Is that winning me points in their books? Probably not. But, because I care about them, I will not back down from this truth that they need to be reminded of.
This is the truth of God and His Church that we are called to proclaim. This kind of truth is powerful. It brings life, it sets free, it’s good news. This truth is what we need to be sharing with people, the realities about God and how He’s moving. And the beautiful thing is, that all the time, what God is doing is loving us. It’s just our job to understand how He’s doing that, receive it and then let it transform our lives. Share this good news of God’s love with all those you know. Let this truth set you free.[tweetthis]“I am the way, the textbook definition and the life.” #thingsJesusneversaid[/tweetthis]