Tony Payne at The Briefing has a great article reminding us of the importance of personal or one-to-one ministry. Although we are familiar with large church gatherings and small group meetings, we sometimes forget about the particular effectiveness of ministering one-to-one. Tony defines Christian one-to-one ministry as:
forming a relationship with another individual for the purpose of mutual growth in Christian understanding, obedience and service of others.
After fleshing out this definition, Tony gives six practical hints on how to get started in one-to-one ministry yourself.
- Start a friendship. Think about the people you know in your street, at work, at church. Choose one or two that you think would really benefit from a one-to-one Christian friendship.
- Use a framework. For example, you might suggest to your friend that you study the Just for Starters or Christian Living for Starters Bible studies together, Short Steps for Long Gains, or the Simply Christianity course, or work through the So Many Questions course together.
- Read together. Reading the Bible will be a key element in any one-to-one ministry relationship. Read whole books together; do topical studies; work your way through pre-packaged Bible studies … It can also be very helpful to read and discuss Christian books together as a way of attacking a particular issue.
- Pray together. As we read together, we should respond in prayer together. God’s word is sharp and active. It will challenge and rebuke us, and as it does, so we should confess our sins to each other, and pray for each other. We can also commit ourselves to pray for others.
- Do things together. One of the most beneficial ways of helping each other grow in serving others is simply to do it together. Take on a Sunday school class with your friend. Do some doorknocking on behalf of your congregation. Run a Bible study group together. Help in some work of mercy or social relief together. The possibilities are endless.
- Keep at it. Long-term Christian friendships in which there is frequent contact over many years … is far more effective than a few deep and meaningfuls. One-to-one ministry [is] … about sharing your life with another person over many years, and, through example, prayer and the truth of God’s word, seeing them grow in Christ.
That’s just a portion of what Tony has to share. I encourage you to read the whole article here: One-to-One Ministry.
How about you? Are you or have you been involved in one-to-one ministry with another person? How did it help your growth in Christ?