In my previous post, I wrote about this book which I received today in the post. It’s a short book, comprising of 100 pages, plus a 5 page study guide. The chapters are short, succinct and it took me 30 to 40 minutes to read it. And yes, I do mean read it..and not just skim through it.
It’s a book that packs a powerful punch, not so much because of the information it gives; rather its power lays in the ongoing story contained within. It’s a story of humility, grace, vulnerability, acceptance, accountability and release. It comprises of an introduction, 3 chapters, a conclusion plus the already mentioned short study guide. I confess I have not yet worked through, nor read the study guide.
The three chapters have the following headings.
- From relevance to prayer.
- From popularity to ministry.
- From leading to being led.
I intend to blog on each of those chapters over the next few days, and today want to draw on a quote from his prologue which says.
Jesus did not send his disciples out alone to preach the word. He sent them 2 by 2.
Far to much of the emphasise in church ministry is individualistic ministry. You have to go, you have to do. I have this position, I have this gifting, I am called to do this – and so the conversation goes within an individualistic framework and context. Yet the bare bone truth of the matter is that Jesus rarely ever ministered on his own. He always ministered with his disciples and his companions. He never sent his disciples out to minister on their own – he always sent them to minister in pairs.
Henri begins with his story of being asked to take a conference talk on “Christian Leadership within the 21st century” and draws on his experience as to how he never truly learnt what mutual ministry was until he was called to minister in a home for the intellectually handicapped. In that household, they did not care about his 20 years of academic excellence, nor the subtleties and nuances of his theological prowess. What the community wanted and expected from him was for him to share his life with them and for him to allow them to share their life with him. Together in this environment he truly learnt what mutual ministry really was about and in many ways, it was those very people whom he was to called to care for spiritually; who ministered and cared for his spiritual state of being.