One of the mistakes I see ministers make is to put away their personal experiences in their effort to carry out ministry. Yet, nothing can be more powerful in connecting with your audience than your story.
Yes, I understand the fact that you don’t want the ministry to be all about you and your personal struggles. But the fact is that if you have no input to make at all, God wouldn’t be sending you in the first place.
You see, we live in a world where people don’t want to listen to experts any better than they want to listen to someone who had been there, seen it all and come out strong.
As such, a one-time overweight person who has lost 100kg is more relatable to someone seeking to lose weight than just a weight loss expert who has been fit all her life.
So how do you leverage your experiences to connect with and minister to others?
1) Insert Your Story In Your Messages
Let’s begin with the simplest and most important message – the message of salvation.
You can go ahead and tell people why they should receive Christ and what He would do for them. While that can be effective, adding what Jesus has done for you since you met Him makes you more relatable. It makes your message more practical and effective.
Same can be said of virtually any area of life at all. Be it finances, relationships, carer advancement or health, sharing your own tests and how God helped you overcome will always make a difference. There will always be this feeling that if God did it for my pastor, He can do it for me if my pastor shows me how he went through it.
The bottom line is that quoting scriptures is great but adding a personal story to the scriptures helps drive home the point better.
2) Hold Events Around Your Experiences
Let’s get the basics clear here … ministry is about meeting needs!
No one was really called into the ministry to start or run a church (even if you were called into the pastoral ministry). The church is only an organized way of delivering that unique solution God has made you to your world while encouraging others to do the same.
So since those we minister to are spirits that have a soul and live in a body, we want to ideally minister to their needs in all three dimensions of life. And one way to start might be to consider holding seminars, retreats, camps, workshops and so on around what God has helped you to overcome.
For example, say like me, you were once heavily indebted. Then God miraculously came through for you and you got out of debt. Did you learn anything through the process that you can pass on to someone else? Were there mistakes you made you can help someone avoid? Is there anything you have understood by going through this that can help someone currently in that situation?
If you answered “yes” to any of the questions above, you have what it takes to start holding seminars and workshops to help others overcome what you have overcome.
In the case of coming out of debt for example, do you know how many people in your catchment area are currently in debt? Do you have an idea of how many marriages you can save if you taught them how to cancel their debts? Do you know how many children you would have given a chance to live in a normal home because the pressure of the debt their parents owe has been lifted?
For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. (Rom 15:4)
The Bible records that the things that were written in scripture were written for our learning. They were written so that by reading them, we can develop patience and comfort and hope to handle what we face today. But did you know that the same can be said of our own experiences?
Sharing your experience can be the source of hope someone has been praying for.
See Also: This Is What Ministry Really Is
Last Words …
Anyone can quote scriptures but not anyone can minister to people on a deep emotional and spiritual level without drawing from their experiences. It takes walking through something to develop the skill and conviction for effectiveness in ministering to others in that area.
That is why going through something and coming out with a testimony often makes you a better minister in that area. So why not share your testimony when you preach or minister?
I Don’t Want People To Know What I Have Been Through
When I share the importance of getting personal in their ministry with ministers, they often have an objection! They say “I don’t want people to know what I have been through” and I get that. But I usually follow up with 2 questions
1) Are you still going through it?
In many cases, they say “no” so I follow up with the second questions
2) If you have come out of it, would you rather others don’t hear what God has done because you want to keep it to yourself?
At that point, they see the point and admit that it is actually selfish of them to keep what God has done just to remain anonymous!
If we take a closer look at it, God probably gave you victory so you can have something to make boast of when you tell others about Him.
Look at your life and ministry so far. What is that great thing God has helped you handle in the past but you are not using to propagate the gospel?
What can you begin doing differently today?