A Congregation of Ministers

Sunday, I pulled into the church parking lot, passed through the cheerful greeters, and found a seat by some folks I had never met. As the first song began to play, I observed something subtle, but heavy. The stranger in front of me, a man roughly 20 years older than me, raised his hands while singing a lyric that reminds us that no darkness in the world can hinder God’s light from shining through. He then turned to who I assumed was his wife, held back tears, and dropped his head.

His response to this opening lyric weighed on me. Not because I knew anything of his situation, but because I know what it is like to wrestle through the promises of God. In the quiet of my heart I prayed for the man, and felt compelled to ask God for an opportunity to speak with this stranger. As I’m praying this, the song ends, and the man immediately turns around, looks at me with tears in his eyes, and introduces himself. My prayer had been answered rather quickly!

I whispered loudly to the man “I noticed that you were quite moved by the worship this morning”. He loudly whispered back, telling me that Friday was one of the worst days of his life, and then acknowledged how timely that song was for him and his family. I still felt so heavy for this brother, and so at the risk of making things awkward, I asked what happened on Friday. As he shared what terrible news had broken his heart, tears began to stream down my face, as tears welled up in his.

Our time was brief, as the sermon was beginning, so I quickly put an arm around him, and prayed for him. After the final benediction, I asked if I could check in on him later in the week to see how he was holding up. He expressed his gratitude, and we exchanged contact information as he told me more of his story.


I don't tell you this to boast. In fact, God orchestrated this moment despite the fact that I was late that morning, and sadly, I hadn’t thought of anyone but myself as I walked in to church.

Since Sunday, I have been meditating on the joyful responsibilities of congregants when the church is gathered, and God has brought this Scripture to my mind. Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

With Sunday church in mind, it is clear that ‘regular attendance’ only accomplishes part of God’s intentions for His family. As we gather with God’s people, we should be thinking (considering) intentionally about how we might care for and strengthen God’s children beside us.


When Charles Spurgeon pastored in the mid-late 1800s, he had what he called ‘hunting dogs’ in his church. He described them as such because, from a prayerful posture, they were looking to identify ‘wounded birds’ on Sunday mornings, and to shine a bit of God's light into their season of darkness. From the pulpit to the pew, each person is meant to whole-heartedly embrace their angle of ministry.


Recently, the elders of Sojourn asked that the coffee be moved from the worship space to the lobby in order to make room for a corner where people can ask for prayer. This was just a small tweak that represents their desire to see the people of Sojourn capture the opportunity to minister to one another, and to hear from God without distraction.

I think we all love that Sojourn Sundays are dealt with casually, and invite a ‘come as you are’ mentality. But I think if we aren’t careful, a collective desire to make Sundays comfortable might cause us to miss out on having deep, serious conversations around the things of God. I know I have fallen into that exact posture many a Sunday. But, if we can’t speak seriously and honestly about spiritual things AT CHURCH, then where can we?

I'd like to invite you into embracing your role as a minister on Sunday mornings.
  • 1) Go. Be at church regularly. Sundays are not only about you getting your fill. But when we gather, we serve as we have been served by Christ, with compassion, and generosity. So showing up is not just for you, but is for others, also.
  • 2) Pray. When you pull into the parking lot on Sunday morning, ask God to give you His eyes, and to allow you to see divine appointments that He has prepared for you. This sort of prayerful posture ought to cause you to linger - showing up early, staying late, and expecting God to lead you to at least one ministry opportunity.
  • 3) Initiate. And do so with courage, knowing you have been commissioned by Jesus Himself to love His flock (John 13:34-35).
    • This ministry may sound riveting and explosive, but most Sundays are seemingly pretty mundane. Most weeks, I don’t sense the Holy Spirit illuminating a stranger, and I don’t always notice body language indicating a burden that someone is carrying. But typically, after a Sunday service, I try not to rush out, and I’ll ask someone “How did God speak to you today?”, “What is God doing in you this season?”, or “How can I be praying for you?”. And while you bear their burdens, it may be a wonderful place for reciprocation, authentically letting them into how God has been working in you, also.
    • Lastly, I recognize that you may have walked into church, heavy-hearted, and haven’t had anyone pull you off to the side to open the door for these types of conversations. I’d like to encourage you to initiate. Whether it is asking someone sitting near you to pray for you, or speaking with an elder or deacon who is waiting for you in the prayer corner. There is no shame in asking for people’s nearness.

Whether looking to serve, or needing to be served, each of us is called to initiate.
If you’d like to learn more about ministering to others while at church, check out this short book, titled How to Walk into Church.
Mitch Pinion
Director of Storytelling