Ministry Meeting Needs for the Sake of the Gospel

1 Cor. 9:22-23

22. When I am with those whose consciences bother them easily, I don't act as though I know it all and don't say they are foolish; the result is that they are willing to let me help them. Yes, whatever a person is like, I try to find common ground with him so that he will let me tell him about Christ and let Christ save him.

23. I do this to get the Gospel to them and also for the blessing I myself receive when I see them come to Christ. Living Bible


When I went to the football game Friday in Weathersfield I could not believe the civility and the good nature of all the people there. The score was quite close for most of the game. And everyone seemed to be quite excited and there were rumblings of dissatisfaction with the defense at times.

But what I noticed was that there were a number of injuries on the field. They actually stopped the game several times when a player was down on the ground and hurt. I guess I thought that since Stark County was such a tough team that they might jear or make fun of anyone who was so weak as to get themselves hurt. I thought that there might be calls from the crowd like get up you pansy. Or quit faking it you cream puff. But they didn't. They actually stopped the game. Everyone stopped and some very caring type people were called onto the field and they went over to the person and worked with them. And they continued to work with them until they were able to get up and walk off the field. And then to my amazement, regardless of what team had suffered the injury everyone cheered and applauded as he walked from the field. I left the game quite amazed for I just didn't know that the people around here were so caring and kind.

Now I know that you think I have gone off the deep end, but just wait for the application.

You see I see people every day who are hurt and injured in the game of life. They have stumbled and fallen. Sometimes it is because of the opposing team and they are quite injured. Sometimes it is just because they were not watching or they did some stupid thing. And what I see is the people, most people, are not running to help them up. No instead they congregate around them and talk about how bad they are at this game of life. No one stops the game until they are on their feet again, and most of the time they are just run over by the other players on the field who are mostly disgusted at their fall. So you can see why I was so amazed at the football game when everyone took care to return the hurt player to the game.

The apostle Paul knew all about this. He knew that in life people become injured either in mind or spirit. Ne knew that many people have great spiritual handicaps. But Paul had developed a method of dealing with them. And it seems that he is trying to pass it on to us who today have read this passage.

In the Handbook of Bible Application they give us the following outline. "Paul gives several important principles for ministry: (1) find common ground with those you contact; (2) avoid a know-it-all attitude; (3) make others feel accepted; (4) be sensitive to their needs and concerns; and (5) look for opportunities to tell them about Christ. These principles are just as valid for us as they were for Paul."

  1. Find common ground with those you contact;
    1. It might be the need they have.
      1. When people are in need they are more open to us.
      2. Could it be that God intends to use you to reach them at this critical time?
    2. We need to see these needs or failings as opportunities for ministry.
      1. Recovering from divorce.
      2. Children who have gone astray.
      3. Grief
      4. Alcohol or drug problems.
      5. Financial problems.
    3. It could be positive things in their lives.
      1. Children, grandchildren.
      2. Football games.
      3. School activities.
      4. The fireman's open house.
      5. Work
    4. If you can't find anything else it might just be that you are both human beings trying to get along in this world.
      1. But you need something to connect.
      2. Paul looked for those type of situations.
      3. He was going to a certain place but he needed a place to start.
  2. Avoid a know-it-all attitude;
    1. That really comes form pride and pride is a snare and a hindrance to ministry.
      1. Romans 12:3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.
    2. Pride does not lend itself to service or giving over our will to that of others.
    3. Paul had everything to be proud of but he would gladly become your servant to win you to Jesus. 1 Corinthians 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am,
    4. 2 Tim 2:24-26. 24. And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, 25. in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, 26. and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.
  3. Make others feel accepted;
    1. We are so quick to pass judgement and become critical.
      1. Paul said we that are strong ought to support the weak. Romans 15:1 We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. NIV
      2. Again he says, "Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted." Galatians 6:1
      3. We often hose so little patience with those who are hurting.
    2. We don't have all the answers, we are just beggars showing other beggars where we found bread, the bread of life that is.
  4. Be sensitive to their needs and concerns;
    1. This takes some perception on our part.
    2. We must be willing to listen rather than just telling our story and sharing our own pain.
    3. If you will listen in a sympathetic non-judgmental way you will find a lot of people who will share their pains with you who normally would not.
    4. All of this precludes the idea that you care, really care.
      1. If you have problems with that, why not ask God to change your heart.
  5. Look for opportunities to tell them about Christ.
    1. Meeting their physical needs is important but not as important as meeting their spiritual needs.
      1. Whatever need they have Jesus is their greatest need.
      2. Jesus said, "What would it profit a person if they gained the whole world and lost their own soul."
      3. Well what profit is there in anything less than the whole world and still losing one's soul.
    2. Paul was willing to, "suffer the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ." Philippians 3:8

What is it you want out of life today?

 This message was preached at FBC Toulon,

by Albert Harmon. See it at