Ministering in the Milieu: How to be a beacon of light in everyday life.

She came in once in a while.  When she did she always had a frown on her face.  Her idea of counseling was sharing her problems while I listened.  She didn’t want to solve problems or listen to advice.  Her favorite expression was the F word.  I ended up adding that letter to the beginning of her name as a joke.  She laughed.  She invited me to a rock concert once because she said I was the first person she thought of.
Another one was thin and wiry with brown hair.  She was desperate for help, but didn’t really want it.  What she wanted was someone to make her feel good, but didn’t want to make any changes to get that way.  She had twenty some issues we could have focused on.  I tried, but she threw every book I gave her to read and said it was crap.  We sparred back and forth for a couple of years before she quit coming.  Then one day she entered my life again and explained that she didn’t really want my help back then.  I know.  I knew that every session.  She smiled.
He sat in the room quietly.  He attended, but wasn’t overly involved.  He usually talked with a small group of people concentrating on only one or two.  He listened and He watched.  It was eerie really.  Somehow we knew said He was different.  During the night we ran out of party supplies and someone said He might be able to help.  This was some Messiah with powers.  So we asked.  He said sure and we ended up getting enough supplies to last the night.  I don’t know who He was, but He was great.  His name was Jesus.
Ministering in the Milieu
Jesus was the master of ministering in everyday life.  He had no earthly temple or robes.  He didn’t flash around His politically correct bible translation or amaze followers with His testimony of the latest Christian conference He attended.  He didn’t have a worship band, worship leader, or sound system.  He walked around.  He didn’t look all that great or smell that good to be honest.  Those closest to Him weren’t even qualified to lead a ministry.  They were fisherman.  They fought, doubted and fell asleep on the job.
Jesus touched people where He was at and in simple ways.  He spoke and lived out the truth.  Though He preached to large groups He spent a lot of time with people one on one.  He made wine, healed, prayed, talked, and listened.  He didn’t ensure that everyone acknowledged His goodness and understood His Christianity when He walked in a room.  He loved, He gave, He did, and He lived.
Jesus equipped us to be the most effective in ministering in the everyday of life.  His ministry is based on the equip and send principal.  He is counting on His people to touch others everyday.  So how?
A World In Need of Hope
War, bombs, politics, drama, social media, news media, cancer, death, life, sexual harassment, molestation, drunkenness, orgies, online scandals, divorce, life crisis, empty nest, and corruption.  Lies, debt, unemployment, shut downs, taxes, hikes, drops, stocks, buying, selling, and recessions.  How do we even get out of bed everyday?  I have trouble and I am a child of God.
Now for a moment imagine being without Him.  You have been without Him before.  Do you remember what that feels like?  People desperately need hope and that hope comes in the form of Jesus Christ.  We can offer people that hope through our quiet conversations, silent texts, by sending them a card, taking them out for dinner, stopping by their house, asking them how their day is at work, stopping by their cubicle, and simply by smiling at them at the store.
We can do it by demonstrating how we have changed, displaying Christian characteristics, smiling more than complaining, and thinking more of others than ourselves.  We can show the world what consistently looks like, a person in the process of change, a willingness to listen, admit wrongs, and seek forgiveness.
A world in need of hope doesn’t need my fancy robes, correct bible translations, and stories of my holy roller lifestyle.  They need to connect with people who are real and willing to share their struggles.  They need to be guided to the truth in the milieu of life.  Gain their trust, give them your ear, and you will open the opportunity to speak into their life and you just might be the first person they think of to invite to a rock concert.
Having real conversations
How are things going?  Well it sucks.  Okay.  What’s going on this week?  Long story, same as usual, with a little spice added on top.
Let’s talk about making some changes.  I can’t, I am tired, I have that upcoming thing.  Let’s talk about her.
F this, F that, F this, F that, and on and on and on.  I smiled, enjoyed the challenge and understand the motivation.
Well what do you want me to do?  Nothing.  I just wanted to talk.
Let’s talk about your drug addiction.  No I am not addicted.
Okay let’s work on your depression.  No I have med’s for that.
Okay let’s work on some parenting skills.  Why, is there a problem? Didn’t you say you left your child alone all day while you slept?
I might have cancer.  Do you want to talk about that?  No.
These books you give me are stupid.  Do you want to come back next week?  Yes.  Okay.  See you then.
For years I felt like a failure, but I was there and they kept coming.  As time went on I ditched the formal and ministered to them in the everyday of life.  Now my counselees have changed.  They are my co-workers, my spouse, my unsaved children, my friends, and my family.  This is the ministry God has equipped us for.
People don’t need our rituals.  They need us to be real.  Be who God has made you to be.  Connect with people through messy relationships and you will gain an audience for sharing your faith and for pointing people to the One who can give them hope.
Don’t discount where God has you.  You have a powerful ministry before you.  Get in it and make a difference.
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Marcy Pedersen

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