Summary: "And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints." (Eph. 6:18)
How to Minister to People of Different Ministry Maturity Levels
Eph. 6:18 - "And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints."
Illustration: Many people prayed for God to use the Passion of the Christ movie and He did, even though it brought Mel Gibson a great deal of persecution and hardship. Praying in the Spirit often involves allows God to take us through difficult experiences before we see the full answer to our prayers. Today, the Passion is being shown in Muslim countries around the world where few previously thought it possible to even speak of the name of Jesus. The Spirit knows the best way to help us minister to people at the point of their spiritual need and level of maturity.
1. ASK GOD FOR WISDOM FROM THE SPIRIT - The Holy Spirit gives us the wisdom to know how to minister to people according to their ministry maturity level. The writer of Hebrews wrote, "Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil." (Heb. 5:13,14)
Application: Ask the Lord to let you grow in the wisdom that is necessary to be able to minister to all nine of the following levels of ministry maturity:
ADJUST YOUR APPROACH FOR MATURITY LEVELS OF YOUR AUDIENCE:
A. NON-CHRISTIANS - Those who are yet to join the family of God through a personal saving faith in Christ for the forgiveness of their sins and the regeneration by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in their life.
B. COMERS - Those who are spiritual babies in Christ are content to just come to church in order to be fed spiritual milk for their own nourishment, well being and growth.
C. GROWERS - Those who concentrate on growing in their knowledge, understanding and confidence in God and His word.
D. DEVELOPERS - Those who have discovered some of their spiritual gifts and are actively seeking to develop those gifts by teaching Sunday School, serving in the choir or engaging in evangelism.
E. DISCIPLERS - Those who are consistently teaching, training and nurturing faithful people who will be able to teach others also according to patterns of Christ and Paul’s disciple-making ministries.
F. LEADERS - Those who shepherding a fellowship of believers by serving them through teaching, preaching, counseling, administrating, encouraging, exhorting, and praying for their flock’s needs.
G. REPRODUCERS - Those who are consistently involved with bringing new people to a saving faith in Christ through evangelism, outreach ministries and seed family Bible studies in their communities.
H. MULTIPLIERS - Those who are consistently involved with planting and growing new churches in order to help expand the kingdom of God and His righteousness in new areas.
I. CHRISTLIKENESS - Those who are consistently helping to make fishers of men as they imitate Christ
2. ASK GOD FOR SPIRITUAL ENABLING - The Holy Spirit equips, enables and empowers us to be able to minister to people with God’s all sufficient grace according to their level of ministry maturity. Paul wrote, "For by the grace given me I say to every one of you. Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given to you." (Rom 12:3) Ask the Lord to equip, enable and empower you to minister to people according to their unique ministry maturity without becoming proud, controlling or condescending.
3. ASK GOD FOR SYNCHRONIZATION WITH THE BODY - The Holy Spirit shows us how each person fits into the overall plan of God in order to maximize harmonization, synchronization and synergy among all the members of the body of Christ. Paul wrote, "Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to us." (Rom. 12:4-6) Ask the Lord to help you to effectively blend with the whole body of Christ for the maximization of its harmony, synchronization and synergistic ministries and relationships.
4. ASK GOD FOR SENSITIVITY TO NEEDS - The Holy Spirit knows what people need in terms of their spiritual, emotional, mental, physical, social, cultural, political, and vocational needs to help them grow in ALL aspects into Christ. Paul wrote, "Become mature...then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the head, that is Christ." (Eph. 4:14,15) Ask the Lord to help you help you to be sensitive, knowledgeable and loving in all ways to help prevent people from failing to consistently progress to the higher levels of ministry maturity in Christ.