Relationship: The Active Ingredient

Life-changing . . .

When I was fifteen, I attended a ten-day training event in preparation for a summer of children’s ministry.  For the life of me, I’ll never remember what possessed me to think that I could hold the attention of a group of kids – or that I would dare to open my mouth and say hi to the other teens in attendance!  Even so, tears, nausea, and ten days later, there I was – still fearful, but holding onto the promise of God’s enablement and ready to travel from church to church, teaching outdoor Bible clubs for six weeks.

Some program, huh?

From shy, cringing, and silent soul to ninja summer missionary warrior in ten days?

Not quite.  The active ingredient in this recipe was relationship.  Godly women, committed to pouring their lives into the spiritual development of a herd of teens, took the time to pray with me, to look for the promise and possibility behind my eye-concealing bangs and nerdy clothes, all with the intent of polishing a very rough and nearly invisible gift for teaching.

And that was just the beginning . . .

Join me over at the LifeLetter Cafe today where I’m sharing “the rest of my story” and how this experience has stayed with me in the form of a conviction that effective ministry models are built on relationship.  Like spiritual disciplines that create a space in which we meet God, a program is also a space-holder, a fruitful opportunity to know and to be known, to become aware of individual needs, gifting and potential.   Trusting to the efficiency of a program alone, we follow an industrial model of discipleship — low-maintenance, but also low-impact.  When we bypass relationship in ministry, we suffocate a living, breathing organism, for this is what Jesus intended His church to be.


While you’re at the Cafe, I encourage you to check out other authors and to learn more about the ministry which is designed to encourage, equip, empower, and engage.


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10 thoughts on “Relationship: The Active Ingredient”

  1. it’s amazing how life-changing events in our tween / teen years can turn out to be … how the course of our lives can be set with great anticipation.

    and oh yes, Michele, when all is said and done, it’s always about relationships, isn’t it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I liked what you said about sitting with children and helping them to understand the sermon and the church service 🙂 I am often guilty of forgetting to ask our children about the service later, which I think really helps. Thank you for sharing this.


  3. I loved this post and your depiction of your beginnings…and what a difference an older woman made. So true what you’ve pointed out. But how rare that woman is in my experience anyway. Now I’m the one that’s supposed to take that role. Yikes.

    Oh, and I’ve got the image of Priscilla and Aquila stuck in my mind. Love that! Who are you implying may have written Hebrews? Just curious. It’s something I’ve wondered about… Such a good book. I really enjoyed the way you went through it–wish I could have been in your SS class!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. At times I quake in my boots at the responsibility I have (in light of all that I’ve received) to be THAT woman. Oh, Linda thanks for asking about Priscilla and Hebrews so that I can be clear about it. For decades, I so wanted Priscilla to have been the author of Hebrews, just because I love what tiny peeks of her life I see in the NT. I think it was about five years ago that I was reading through the Bible with a friend and I read Hebrews with that in mind, and ~sigh~ . .. so many singular, first person pronouns about trips taken and things done. She would have traveled at least with Aquila. There’s no way. So I’m with everyone else now who says, “I dunno.” But whenever I see Priscilla in my imagination, there’s always a manuscript somewhere in the background (maybe it’s a cookbook to pass on to her kids . . .). I guess I’m just a stubborn cuss.


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