ministry formation – week 4

This week there were three different things in three hours.

First hour, more biblical theology. We’re getting closer and closer to the new Goldsworthy book: I’m looking forward to seeing how biblical theology relates to preaching, and to understanding the bible.

Second hour, a discussion on the ministry call of Isaiah (in Isaiah 6). It kicked off with student presentations, and then the lecturer turned up the insights a notch. Isaiah 6 talks about the amazing vision that Isaiah had, his vision of God, and then how tough his ministry was: preaching to his own countrymen with no expectation of them ever listening to him. It’s not all bleak, of course, there’s the slightest hint that this is all pruning work, bringing about God’s purposes of salvation for his people.

In the third hour, we had a look at a chapter from a book by Bruce Demarest Satisfy your soul : restoring the heart of Christian spirituality. This third hour was the most challenging:: the notion of intimacy with God. Sure, there’s a widely known cliché of having a personal relationship with God that the televangelists throw around, but how real is it in practice?

Are we so busy with practical stuff – with structures and meetings – that we forget about God altogether?

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1 Comment

  1. Dave – concerning that last point of intimacy with God … spot on. It is so easy for God to get programmed out of our lives. One thing I used to do frequently (but alas! not so frequently now) was to seasonally take a ‘day away’ with God. Just me, a bible, a notepad and a good book on Christian ministry. And some food. And a nice view. And sunscreen. And water.

    Every time I have done this it has recharged the batteries. And it has been a lovely reminder of the value of ‘royally wasting time’ with God (Marva Dawn). Those have been times of a wonderful restoration of ‘intimacy’ with God – that sense of him giving me a big hug, and me being able to respond like the child joyfully leaping about in dad’s arms (Ps 150:6).

    Sadly, it seems many of our corporate experiences manage to ‘program out’ that aspect. I know that I participate in this ‘corporate stifling’. Maybe it’s because intimacy with God and each other is not ‘safe’. And we like ‘safe’. And so we like structures and programmes that preserve ‘safe’.

    And yet … church is about relationships and relational intimacy with God and each other.

    It is not, never has been, and never will be, about programmes and structures.

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