Remind, Rejoice, Safeguard

A couple of years ago, I embarked on a new direction in my career. I was considering transitioning from ministering to youth to working with all ages within a congregation. The change would not be difficult; I’ve always enjoyed working alongside every demographic. I like to say, “I’m an equal opportunity hugger.” However, before I made this transition, I wanted a better grasp of what a minister does. I asked around to those who had many more decades of ministry than I had. I sought advice on what ministry is and what it should be. The main question I asked was, “What do ministers do?”
For the next couple of blog posts, I want to wrestle with these thoughts, and perhaps it will give us insight into what a church is as I consider how we can better minister to others.
As a youth minister, one of my primary roles was to give young people a place to strengthen their faith; this process is multifaceted. We should strive to create a suitable learning environment that is also engaging and exciting for young people to attend. I’ve always adhered to the principle that “Passion is Contagious.” If you believe in something and are excited about it, everyone else will respond positively to the enthusiasm. I can’t emphasize this enough when you are working with catatonic teenagers. 
I also knew that a youth group was an excellent place for a young person to wrestle with their emerging faith. Young people have a lot of questions and are primarily skeptical about everything. They have grown out of their childhood, when they accepted most ideas at face value. But as they grow into adolescence, they begin to challenge everything and everyone, especially their parents. Therefore, one of my responsibilities was to allow for questions and reinforce God’s Word as the foundation for our lives.
Paul gives us insight into these ideas and writes to the church in Philippi. He explains the superior nature of Christ and that eventually “every knee will bow” (Philippians 2:10). He moves on to discuss the pressing on to the upward call (Philippians 3:14). Yet in the middle of these two points, we read this verse.  
Philippians 3:1 – “Finally, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things again is no trouble for me, and it is a safeguard for you.”
Paul asserts that he is okay with reminding them about the Good News of Jesus. He knows that this is what every Christian should be excited to hear about over and over. We should share in this mentality; we should also never feel inconvenienced in hearing, saying, and living the same messages over and over again. Paul was happy to write the same instructions and to live out the example that Jesus provided. It was not bothersome, but he saw purpose to it. 
He described two purposes in this verse; the first is that it should produce joy in our lives. He encourages them to “Rejoice in the Lord.” To joyfully engage in who Jesus is and what he has done for us. It is not something that grows old but provokes and motivates us toward enthusiasm and passion. 
He also said that he is not troubled to write these things because they safeguard the church in Philippi. This word, translated as “safeguard,” has a beautiful meaning. 
ἀσφαλής a’sphalḗs- firm (that which can be relied on), certain, true, suited to confirm, safeguard. 
Imagine a guardrail that keeps you on the road. Paul doesn’t have a problem writing the same things repeatedly because it keeps them going in the right direction. It keeps them from crashing on the twists and turns of life. It confirms their faith, and it is something that can be relied upon. 
This is a healthy environment for a church to foster, regardless of age group or demographic. We want to cultivate a family passionate about gathering together that will be reminded of Jesus constantly and, when we start to drive off the road, will be there to remind us of what is the “straight and narrow.” So, what do ministers do? And we are all ministers, our purpose is to Remind, Rejoice, and Safeguard.

One Response to “Remind, Rejoice, Safeguard”

  1. Sue Palmer says:

    This is a great weeks tales. WE ARE ALL MINISTERS is right and I’m sure glad you are such a good example Tom, of how we should all Remind, Rejoice, and Safeguard and LOVE each other!

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