Why Soul Care
Perhaps the simplest answer to Why Soul Care is this: Workers can be so focused on working FOR God that they lose sight of their lives IN God, becoming disconnected from Him and the people they serve. This obscures the Gospel message and limits their capacity to love people well.
What then is soul care? In the broadest sense, we define it as bringing people to Jesus. It’s why our logo is a centered cross with many mosaic tiles in relationship to it. Whether they are coming or going is hard to say–and isn’t that like our lives? Sometimes it’s easy to know where we are and how we are relating to God. At other times, the way is foggy, things don’t seem right, and we’re confused or angry. Yet through all this shines Jesus’ invitation to come and know Him–To work with Him, watch Him, learn from Him so that we can rest, enjoy and serve Him from a grateful, loving heart. This is how soul formation (a.k.a., essential support) happens, and it is a process we love to engage. During this process, spiritual community is cultivated, and workers are revitalized. When this happens, we relate to each other with respect, love, and patience, thus validating the Gospel message.
The Necessity of Cultivating Community
The story of Jesus’ washing the disciples’ feet should be part of any meaningful conversation about community. He went so far as to ask them if they understood what was happening in that moment. He laid down a pattern not just of serving but of loving. And not just of loving but reflecting what the Father looks like.
When statistics show that conflict, relational difficulty, disintegrating marriages, isolated children and an inability to solve relational problems are the top reasons people fail in ministry, then we begin to understand that perhaps we don’t understand what Jesus was saying after all.
- Community gives opportunities to see ourselves most clearly.
- Community disrupts the effects of isolation and wakes up longings.
- Community is where we realize that we cannot and should not attempt life on our own.
- Community is the one way the world knows what God looks like.
In other words, the quality of our relating to each other not only reflects who God is, but is the very validating principle of the message we’ve been given.
The Necessity to Revitalize the Messenger
“There’s still that message that I’m a disappointment.”
“And you did not receive the ‘spirit of religious duty’ leading you back into the fear of never being good enough, But you have received the ‘Spirit of full acceptance’ enfolding you into the family of God.’ I’m almost 58, you’d think I would believe it fully, but I really struggle with it.”
“Throughout all my ideas is the theme that God loves me, but it is conditional. It morphs and changes. I feel that He is pleased but there has to be a high level of obedience. So, the invitation to receive a lavish love that has no strings attached feels far out of reach.”
“I remember my response to punishment was resistance and rebellion. But God is not a God of punishment—His love is what breaks my heart.”
Each of these was written by a worker longing for God. They grapple with their hearts, their ministries, their families—all the relationships and hardships that life brings. If they are to continue to give from a heart overflowing with the goodness of God, then they must be “rooted in the deep conviction that we walk through this world as those who are loved until that truth permeates their whole lives. They must learn to give attention, to concentrate, to focus down and approach each moment as it comes so they can trust that God is and that, however unpredictable the world and whatever life may do to me, I am his loved and valued child.” (Michael Mayne)
The Necessity of a Validated Message
Jesus said Christ-followers would be known by their love for Him and for each other. He said to the watching world, Go ahead…taste Me…see that I am good! See that I am who I promised to be. See that My work is to heal, restore and remake. See that My movement is toward freedom, grace and love. See for yourself that this moment, which seems too good to be true, is genuine—change from the inside out. It’s real. And it’s for you.
This is what uncertain, wary people need to see. When they sense genuine caring and authentic movement toward them, for them, then maybe they’ll want to hear about Christ because of what they saw in you.