Where can we find this idea of the ministry of presence in Scripture? Frankly, it’s so simple, so basic, so foundational, we tend to overlook it. When we sketch out our ministry models, we tend to overthink, overplan, oversermonize and overstrategize.
Instead, we must look to Jesus. The whole of Jesus’ earthly ministry was the intentional way he lived out the ministry of presence. (Take a highlighter to the Gospels and mark the references for this life-on-life style ministry from the life of Christ. Your Bible will soon take on another hue.)
Consider the term Jesus used to describe himself—the Good Shepherd (John 10:14). Then, the writer of Hebrews (13:20-21) adds that Jesus is “the great shepherd of the sheep.” Why is this imagery important? Because shepherds are known by their flock. This doesn’t happen without presence.
Today, courtesy of social media, the ministry of presence is even more needed and relevant than it was a generation ago. Most of the people in our congregation have all the friends, followers, contacts that anyone could want. Yet someone with whom they can enjoy an honest conversation of some degree of depth is rare.
This is why the spiritual leaders of our day must be those who sit, eat and live among the people we seek to serve. It’s not enough to sit in our office and fire off emails, newsletters or blog posts. We must be among our people—loving them and encouraging them with our pastoral presence.
Though the models of pastoral ministry have changed dramatically in recent years, one minisry model has never lost its value, its practicality or its hipness—the minsitry of presence.
Whom will you invest in with the ministry of your presence?