Have you ever heard of the three “P’s”? Sometimes pastors use three memorable ‘P’s’ for a message hoping that their listeners will hear and remember the main three points. There is also an understanding amongst those in the leadership of faithful churches that the three “P’s” stands for “Preaching, Prayer and Pastoral-Care.” I don’t think too many of us would deny the importance of all three when it comes to ministry and ‘running’ a church.
But where does the responsibility lie that all three are done well, especially in larger membership churches? I guess we would like to think that the teaching elder (minister) would be involved in all three areas of ministry. No one would argue that the teaching elder has been trained to bring a message from God’s word. And no one would object to the teaching elder being a person of prayer. And if the teaching elder wishes to be relevant with sermon application, he needs to be involved at some level of Pastoral Care for the congregation too.
Now before you think you have been let off the hook, the three “P’s” is something we can all do. As part of God’s family which meets regularly as a fellowship, we have a responsibility to each other as brothers and sisters in Christ. Just as we seek to minister to, pray for, and care for our immediate families without thinking of it as a burden for a moment, so too, we have a responsibility to each other who are brothers and sisters in Christ.
Now we may not all be trained or gifted for pulpit ministry but that doesn’t mean it is only the ‘minister’ who should encourage other family members with God’s word and His promises. Each one of us should be able to open the Scriptures and read a Psalm or some other passage to encourage a fellow brother or sister in the Lord. Likewise, all of us can pray for or with each other. Our prayers may not always be fluent and graceful, but the Holy Spirit intercedes for us with groans even while we are stumbling to find the ‘right’ words to express what we wish to say. Similarly, most of us are in a position where we can care in practical ways. Perhaps the parents need a night off from the kids; perhaps an extra meal is needed; perhaps someone who is lonely needs a visit; perhaps an elderly person needs to be invited out for dinner or a cuppa. It’s all part of being part of God’s family.
Let me mention three “d’s” in closing.
1. Don’t say you cannot be involved in some way, for that would be denying the oneness we have in Christ and a lack of love for God’s family in Christ. Rather, just as it is a real privilege to be part of a loving earthly family, see it as even a greater privilege being part of God’s family, especially when you consider what it cost His Son to make you part of the family.
2. Don’t abuse the privilege of being part of God’s family or treat it with contempt. And if we have been guilty of abusing the privilege, we should sincerely ask for forgiveness, knowing that just as earthly parents always stand ready to forgive their children, God even more so stands ready and able to forgive because of His Son.
3. Don’t put yourself in a position where you cannot be ministered too or be able to minister to someone else in the family. That would grieve the Holy Spirit and be to your detriment and to ours.
Prayer: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, thank you that You have made us part of Your eternal family. JZ.