There is a common cultural phrase people use in relation to real estate – it’s all about “location, location, location”. When people are looking to invest in property or move somewhere, a common link everyone usually cares about is the location. Where is this property going to be located? What is it going to be near? What type of traffic is it going to get?
Every type of investment and property has different purposes – thus making each intended location’s desired outcomes unique. If you are starting a retail business you desperately long for a place with low rent and high traffic. If you are starting an office then traffic may not be as important to you as much as a good recruiting location. If you are looking to move into a house, obviously we long to be someplace where we are not far away from the essentials, maybe even be near good schools if you are a parent and hopefully be in a place that is quiet, with good neighbors, where you can easily have some fun in the community you are in.
Location is important for it defines your property.
Ministry is the same way, except we are playing on a different turf. We are not playing on a literal location (even though this requires us to be at literal locations), rather we are playing on a realm where our location is all about relationship. We can be in the same atmosphere as people but not actually be in relationship. We can place our church buildings in the heart of downtown and still miss relationship. We can have an active ministry reaching out to the fill in the blank population of your city and still not have a relationship with them.
Whatever it is we are doing, it all needs to be about relationships, relationships, relationships.
Relationships are important because they define your ministry.
One on one, group, and city. Every type of relationship we can have for the sake of investing in our people to invest in their city. It’s not merely about x’s and o’s. It’s not merely about vision, though our vision must be about people. It’s about people. Ministry is people. Mission is people. Preaching is people. Discipleship is people. It is all about people.
You can be the most talented and gifted person in the world but still miss out on the most important element of ministry – relationships. Seminary can teach the tools, the words, the vision, the methods but it can never, ever teach me how to have relationships with people. It cannot teach me how to be present in the lives of people. It cannot teach me how to be there when a friend has cancer. It cannot teach me how to faithfully love and hang out with those who don’t know jesus – not because they are lost souls – but because they are friends, family and people I care about.
Without relationships all I do is empty. I need to be in relationship with others because I’m in relationship with a great, glorious, loving, kind God who wants nothing more then to be in relationship with us – all of us. Jesus came to us – He didn’t just set up a curriculum and a plan. Jesus hung out with those who didn’t know Him – He didn’t just give them tracks or hold signs.
Holy Spirit, help me to walk in this more and more.