3 Aspects of Incarnational MinistryBy Brian White
June 8, 2021
To be faithful ministers in our context, we must practice incarnational ministry which is all about in-person contextualization. We can see incarnational ministry this exemplified with Paul in how he seeks to reach the Thessalonians. Paul came to Thessalonica to proclaim the gospel. But he gave attention to the way he lived the gospel with them. In 1 Thessalonians Paul speaks of the power of example. He tells them that he came to them and cared for them like a mother (1 Thessalonians 2:7–8) and exhorted them like a father (1 Thessalonians 2:11–12). That type of example cannot happen apart from being there with the people you are trying to reach.
According to Brad Brisco,
Incarnational ministry must involve living in close proximity to others. We cannot love and serve those God has sent to us from a distance. Just as Jesus put on flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood we must do likewise. This may require us moving geographically to be closer to those to whom God has sent us. At the very least, it will demand creating time and space to be directly and actively involved in the lives of people that we’re trying to reach.
In-person, incarnational ministry gives you the platform for encouragement, exhortation, and equipping. God has called us to be there physically with those we are trying to reach. With that in mind, there are three aspects that must be present in our incarnational ministry.
Be purposely present
Are you part of the community? Are you thinking about the place and the people? Have you prayer walked it? Have you considered this on-the-ground, intimate knowledge of the community as part of your contextualization? Do you see your life as being invested that context? Can the people you are trying to reach see your life and walk with Christ?