In early September, I enjoyed the privilege of hearing Jill Briscoe
speak at a conference. Wow! I could sit and listen to her all day. And it’s not just because of her cute British accent. 🙂 She can open up the truths of God’s Word. I was like a sponge, just soaking in everything she said.
That day, Jill spoke about Ministry According to Jesus. This morning at MOPS, our mentor spoke about reaching out to those in crisis. She also heard Jill Briscoe speak the same day I did, and she mentioned some of Jill’s message today. It was a good reminder to me, and I wanted to share it with you.
Jesus — when He was on earth — had a ministry of presence. He came. His ministry was incarnational. He did not minister from a distance. He came.
Jill told us about the time she had just moved to the U.S. and her neighbors experienced divorce. The day the husband moved out, Jill (who did not know her neighbor very well), knocked on the neighbor’s door and said, “I just had to come.” Because of her willingness to come to her neighbor, Jill was a blessing during a very dark time.
Jill also told about taking a delegation of women to Serbia during the war there. These women wanted to know what they were supposed to do when they got there; and Jill told them she didn’t know what they were going to do. They said, “That’s not fair. You can’t take us into this war-zone and not give us a plan. What should we say?”
So Jill said, “Say, ‘I just had to come.'”
When the women arrived and began hugging and talking to the refugees, Jill asked the interpretor to go around and listen to her women and see what they were saying. The interpretor returned and said, “It’s so odd. They are all saying the same thing. They’re all saying, ‘I just had to come.'”
Then Jill asked, “And what are the refugees saying?”
The interpretor said, “That’s the other odd thing. They’re all saying the same thing too. They’re all saying, ‘You came. You came.'”
In order to minister to people, we have to be present.
At the MOPS Convetion a month ago, we were reminded that sometimes being involved in people’s lives means getting messy. It means making ourselves vulnerable. It might mean dealing with some ugly stuff. It most definitely will mean getting uncomfortable. It probably means coming alongside a friend in all her mess and yuckiness and being with her.
A ministry of presence may mean visiting someone in prison. And that can definitely be a scary and uncomfortable thing!
A ministry of presence may mean driving a friend to chemotherapy or radiation.
Or holding a friend’s hand when she is depressed and suicidal.
Or crying with a friend who has lost a baby.
Or bringing videos and homemade cookies to a friend whose children have the chicken pox.
Or showing up to take a young mom’s children for two hours so she can take a nap.
Or taking dinner to a widow and eating with her so she doesn’t have to eat alone.
Or going with a friend to visit her child in drug rehab.
Or inviting the teenage mom to have coffee with you once a week.
A ministry of presence could mean cleaning someone’s house or bringing someone meals or just sitting and listening to someone who is hurting. It could mean going with a friend to court during her divorce proceedings or holding a young mom’s hands as she recovers from birthing a child she gives in adoption.
Often, a ministry of presence involves silently listening.
Recently, I’ve been blessed by dear friends who have simply hugged me and said, “I’m thinking about you,” or “I’m praying for you.” Just knowing I am not alone — that I am part of a community and that others care for me — ministers to my heart.
I want to minister like Jesus. I want to show up in people’s lives.