Howard G. Hendricks wrote in his book, Teaching to Change Lives that “You can impress people a distance, but you can impact them only up close.”
That statement reminds me that Jesus embodied that very thing, a closeness that impacted the world. For generations God interacted with His people at a distance. When instructions were given from God to His people to build The Temple with a Holy inner room called the Holy of Holies was Gods way of dwelling with His people. But this dwelling would be at a distance. The Holy of Holies was cover by a veil and only High Priest could enter to offer blood sacrifices and He could only enter one time each year on Yom Kippur.
This went on for generations. And then Jesus shows up as promised. Jesus, God in flesh, came to tear the veil that kept sinful man and Holy God at arms length. The Father will no longer dwell with His people from a distance but will dwell with His children up close and personal.
Hebrews gives un insight into this truth. That we can now approach God with boldness and not be consumed by His holiness because we have Jesus!
Hebrews 4:14-16 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens—Jesus the Son of God—let us hold fast to our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in every way as we are, yet without sin. 16 Therefore, let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in time of need.
How does this truth relate to ministry? I believe there are two actions for us to consider as we pastor and minister in the Local church.
- Develop relationships within your congregation.
That seems like a no-brainer but you would be surprised by the fact that many pastors serve the people of the church from a distance. You will have greater impact within the congregation when you make yourself available to the church. Yes fill the pulpit but also make time for people.
2. Develop relationships with the City
Imagine a scenario where pastors worked the streets of their city like they worked the hallways of the SBC annual meeting! Who cares if you are known among the evangelical “elite”! Kingdom impact doesn’t happen ultimatly there. It happens where you live, work and play!
The point is to be a pastor who is available to Gods people and is involved on the life of the city his church is in. That is when impact happens. When we are up close and personal with the very people we are called to shepherd and the city we are called to reach.