Today, I took a member to lunch for his birthday.  He is alone with no family, except a few cousins.  When he was offered a free dessert–blackberry cobbler, he told the waitress that he didn’t like blackberry cobbler.  After a bit of coaxing, he told me that he had never tasted blackberry cobbler.  I suggested that he order the free dessert; and if he didn’t like it, he didn’t have to eat it.  Of course, he loved the cobbler and ate every bite.

As we left the restaurant, I was reminded of the times that I’ve turned my nose up to a new idea simply because it entailed thoughts about which I was unfamiliar.  This is especially true in the area of ministry. I believe that the Scriptures are unchanging and unmoving. I know that I don’t understand everything in the Scriptures; but my lack of knowledge does not make the Scriptures untrue.    Beyond a doubt, I know “Jesus is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.”  I also know that I am continually learning new, different and better ways to share the Gospel of Christ.

 I’ve been reading and studying a concept which has opened my mind to different possibilities in ministry.  The book is not even written by Christians; but the concept is one that has been used by the Holy Spirit since the beginning of civilization. 

This blog isn’t about explaining the concept.  It is about being challenged with new ideas and concepts and how to handle them.  In reading and studying, I’m praying that the Lord will eliminate the “I don’t like blackberry cobbler” attitude from my mind, especially if I’ve never tried “blackberry cobbler.” 

Many years ago, two young women came to me wanting to know how to fix a spaghetti dinner so that they could sell the meals and raise money for a missions trip.  I told them that it would not work.  Yet, I agreed to tell them how to do it.  They raised more than enough money for their missions trip.   I still wouldn’t prepare a spaghetti dinner to raise funds; but I learned from their experience that my dogmatic, unbending opinions are often wrong.

  1. Of course, the first thing we can learn about handling new concepts is don’t be too cocky about how much you know. 
  2. Let humility rule your life and “don’t think more highly of yourself than you ought.”
  3. Allow new ideas to challenge you into experimenting with new concepts and different vistas in ministry.
  4. Be willing to learn from the “experts.”  When I told a colleague only a few years ago, that I never used commentaries, he said, “Really? I like to read and learn what Biblical scholars think about a Scripture.  It broadened my understanding every time.”  I felt a bit silly.
  5. We can learn from even the worst ideas.  I still contend that spaghetti dinners are a plot designed to rid us of all sanity but the women raised $2,400. 
  6. Totally and completely reject only things which are ungodly or too expensive. 

Often we believe that we don’t like things that we have never tried.  Within the ministry sphere, it is a common belief that it takes a uniquely gifted person to work within the mentally challenged sub-culture.  While that may be true, it probably isn’t because our members are different.  It is because…oops!  That’s another blog.