Encouraging emerging ministers
12/02/2018 § 1 Comment
I found the following passage (in the preface to James Dickinson’s Journal) challenging and encouraging on several points.
The ministry, (as Samuel Bownas says) is a birth, and at its birth is tender and vulnerable. It can be nurtured so as to grow in stature, and the individuality of the person unfold in ways that are beneficial to themselves and to their society — or it can not receive the care and welcome that it needs for its good growth. The best nurture comes from those who respect the mystery of the individual, while remembering what it is like to be fresh-born, and knowing from their own or others’ experience some (at least) of the elements that should be actively available while the child’s development goes forward towards fulness and freedom.
I would also beseech Friends, when it may please God to raise up and qualify any for the work of the ministry, that they do not slight it, nor despise the instruments who may be so concerned, how mean soever they may appear in the eyes of men, for it is the Lord’s work, who is able to qualify: but be diligently exercised in your minds, that they may feel the help of your spirits for their strength and encouragement, for the exercise and concern of the true ministers is of more weight to them than some are aware of.
(John Bell, from his ‘Testimony’ prefaced to the life of James Dickinson, 1744.)
This would be a good passage for meetings on ministry and counsel, or meetings for business, to think about, meditate upon, and consider in relation to their work of spiritual formation.