As 2011 comes to a close my mind is focusing on new opportunities in 2012 and a change in focus that will affect my ministry philosophy and decision making process. Since late 2010 the Lord allowed me to become involved in volunteer ministries within in the surrounding community of Craigieburn which I used as an opportunity to share the Gospel.
During 2011 especially volunteering also allowed me to develop friendships with lots of people; like the nurses and patients in a Dialysis ward, a group of first and second graders at a primary school, students who I tutor with homework, adults who go through net tutoring sessions, and those who receive food or financial aid from a ministry I volunteer in. These relationships are definitely an answer to prayer because I am able to not only share the Gospel, but also the ministries of Cornernstone Baptist Church.
As I pray and plan for 2012 about the Lord is burdening me to take the next step by into a mentor style of relationship that revolves around discipleship and deeper conversations that about their need for Christ. This is hard since most volunteer ministries only last an hour to an hour and a half and a most mentoring relationships involve meeting more than once a week and spending large amounts of time together. This doesn’t mean the volunteer ministries are bad but God has placed a burden upon my heart to go past just spending about an hour with these friends each week.
Because of this burden I have begun moving my relationships from focusing on ministry to connecting outside of the volunteer outreach; like meeting at a cafe, coming over to my house for a movie and games, having dinner at my house or theirs, inviting them into youth and young adults activities, and constantly looking for activities that we can do together. This will be almost impossible for the first and second grade children (which is sad because many are in desperate need of mentorship) but there is nothing holding me back from connecting with others.
This focus on connecting and sharing the Gospel in a practical way also involves a pretty big change in how I make decisions. Up until now I have looked for any volunteer opportunity that ministered to individuals in need not worrying about whether or not it led to teaching or discipleship. The goal at that point was to be as busy as possible in the local community telling others about Christ. Now in order to pursue mentorship properly I must begin eliminating not only ministries but anything else that doesn’t lead me towards these mentoring relationships.
This has begun with leaving the Dialysis Ward I ministered in for more than a year twice each week and giving food to the poor in a nearby community. This isn’t because I don’t enjoy doing these things but they don’t lead me towards becoming a mentor. There are still quite a few hard decisions to make so please pray for me that the Lord would give clear guidance as to His will. Also that God would bless as I invite my friends into a deeper relationship that God’s Will would be done.