Relationships Required, Paige Benton Brown

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I am certain that these notes will not do this workshop justice; it was so rich with the grace and wisdom that come only from years of serving in the trenches of ministry.~Bekah

Paige Benton Brown: Relationships Required

She recommends Paul Tripp’s book, Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands, for a fuller explanation of much of what she discusses today.

This can be considered a General Directory for Ministry: The Christian-to-person ministry to which God calls all of us.

**There should be no relationships that are not ministry.

I. Person: Christ
How do we minister Christ to people?

1. “He is the journey and the journey’s end.” Boetheus.
Those who have the Son have life, and it doesn’t matter what else you have. If you don’t have the Son, you don’t have life.
If we are not ministering Christ to one another, we are not ministering at all.

HE is the Content of all ministry.
HE is the Cause of all ministry.

Ministry is not ours, it is Christ’s.
We are not results people. We are responsibility people.

We have a responsibility to be faithful and obey. The results of that are the responsibility of the God who sends us.
God uses our weakness. Why does God use us at all? His passion is for his people. He not only lavishes you with grace, He allows you to participate. As we minister, we learn and grow and mature. He allows us to participate because He knows it’s what’s best for us. 

See Philemon 6.

II. People:
He sends the Gospel to people wrapped up in people.

You can’t just be great with people, you have to be great with persons. Individuals.

“Let him love the Church. Just don’t let him see the faces.” Screwtape knew that we can get so busy “doing ministry” for people that we completely miss the genuine ministry to the person.

III. Posture:
Do ministry in the name of Christ. We work for him, belong to him and stand in his stead.

We must have his heart and mind. We must be full of grace AND truth.

The will of God for your life in one word: Christlikeness.

IV. Pathways: There are two basic pathways of ministry…
Public: Some are called and equipped to minister in a public capacity. This may be seen more.

Personal: All are called to minister in this capacity. But this is more intense.
Both are needed.

Proclamation and Conversation. Some are called to public proclamation, but all are called to and gifted for the personal relationship pathway. We have been given Christ and have been given persons. It is our job to be an ambassador of Him to them.

The public is not more important than the personal gifts and responsibilities.

People have the greatest influence on one another, but when someone comes to us with a struggle, we want to give people a book or take them to an event.

Don’t ask “For what am I responsible?” Instead ask “For whom am I responsible?”
Not just what they need or what they know, but who they are.

Personal relationships are an irreplaceable vehicle for God’s grace to individual.

Consequential necessity, according to the sovereignty of God.

We must be involved with people!

Don’t be so busy with PEOPLE that you are no longer ministering to PERSONS.

This is not a program or a group, but discipleship LIFESTYLE of ongoing personal ministry. And it is messy.

Don’t be like the Energizer Bunny by valuing the activity without considering the direction. When you spend time investing in individuals, where are you going?

Five Progressive Aspects of a Personal Relational Ministry Trajectory. In ANY relationship.

I. Initiating: Everything about God’s relationship with us is His initiative. He is the initiator. As His ambassadors, we move towards people. Jesus never told His disciples to “be available.” He told them to “Go.” Initiate people as people and not as players in your church or ministry. Get to know them for them and not for what they can do for you.
a. Obvious: Who is immediately around you? Don’t look for new people, look at the same people with new eyes.
Jesus sent Legion and the Woman at the Well back to their people. New testimony with the same people.
Look at your relationships you would have anyway. Are they radically different relationships different because of Christ? Not just interaction, but involvement.
b. Unobvious: Not just available to them, but actively pursuing them. Leaving the 99 for the one who will never come on their own. The ones who are gonna need it most are the ones who will never approach you.
Who needs to be approached who will never approach anyone else?

We are in the service of a Seeking Savior. He does not hang a shingle, but is the Hound of Heaven.

Summary of the Fall: Good things never “just happen.” We don’t wait, we don’t pray and make ourselves available and willing. We go.

2. Investing:  Involvement is often involuntary. Investment is voluntary. We are trying to figure out what “they” think about God. We enter into relationships trying to figure out if they’re going to be compatible. BUT what matters is what God thinks about them. And he thinks they are worth the investment.

1 Thess 2: Paul shared not only the Gospel, but his life as well. We show value by sharing the lives of other.

The foundation of ministry is not theology. It is love. Romans 8:38-39

It starts with His love for people. We can never say, “I just can’t love this person.”
We enter into their world to show that we love them.

Beware of Liabilities that Damage True Ministry:
1.The liability of technological counterfeits and distractions: The Internet is Social, NOT Relational. And not knowing the difference is devastating.

People want to express themselves, but they have no relationships in which they are safe enough to share. Be wise.

2. The liability of groups: Having a great community group is NOT the same as having great relationships. Be able to tell about the persons in your group and not just your group. Be in relationship with the individuals in your group.

3. The liability of fitting in: There is no ministerial way to sin. Do not compromise your integrity and Christ’s witness for a chance to be accepted.

Don’t reject the “wild” the categories. Be there.  IOW– Don’t reject someone or assume they aren’t interested in relationship with you or with Christ because they have a “wild” reputation. Even the wildest of party girls does more than drink excessively or sleep around. Who are the WHOLE people that we are loving? Get to know her and not just her reputation.

Follow His heart to the people and your heart will follow.

Investing in the lives of others will rearrange your life. We have to go all the way to people, and it will not be easy.

Sometimes we have to crawl in there and sit with them.

3. Investigation: How well do I know them? 
We are not getting to know people to see if we will love them. We are getting to know them BECAUSE we have committed to knowing and loving them.

A. Digging: Knowing theological truths about ALL people is not the same as knowing the individual. Ask, don’t assume. Ask and ask and ask and then listen and listen and listen. Know the facts about their lives. But the facts alone are not enough. Know the facts and know what they feel about them. Get beyond the first impression and ask followup questions.

Don’t jump to conclusions based on your experience. Look for them, the person. Don’t go looking for anything other than THEM, the heart.

Be willing to talk about what matters to them. We have to listen to find out what matters.

Not “Talk about something that matters.” but “Talk about whatever because YOU matter.”

When helping others learn to minister, give them questions to ask, not answers to give.

There are no kinds of people. There are just people.

B. Diagnosing: Do the digging, but also diagnose. If you just dig, you’re just nosy.

Figure out what’s really going on. People are not self-aware. You’re identifying with them.
4. Illustrating: They have every right to investigate us. They won’t know they’re doing it, but they’re looking at us to see Christ.

Are our lives teaching truth as much as our words?

His honor is attached to EVERYTHING that we think and say. Everything. We don’t get to say to people, “Only watch me on these days.”

Are our lives reinforcing what they know about Scripture, or are they eroding the Gospel?

5. Intervening: Often, when we have shown we care, when we have earned trust, we are invited into the situation. We will have the opportunity to intervene.

**I had to leave Paige’s workshop as she began to quickly explain this last point further, so I do not have notes past this. If you attended and were able to stay for the end, please add to this in the comments.

  1. Kendra Dahl

    Thank you for posting these! I was so excited to listen to this workshop and then so disappointed that the audio wasn’t available! Really appreciate you sharing. Blessings to you.