I learned a lot at church today and want to share it with you. Even if you're not into churchy stuff, I think what I learned is exciting in its applicability to everyone and every day life.
Today at church we had a guest speaker, Tiger McLuen, who was fabulous! He focused on the Scripture lessons from Luke 24: 13-35, the Walk to Emmaus.
I thought I was somewhat familiar with this story, but today I learned a LOT more about it. Here goes:
7 Principles of Ministry Demonstrated by Jesus Christ
(Sharing Faith on the Road of Life)
1. Walk alongside people. (Jesus appeared as a "stranger" and walked alongside his disciples who were going to Emmaus)
2. Ask questions. (Jesus asked questions such "why are you sad?" "what is going on?")
3. Let people express their understanding. (They explained what their hopes had been and how it had all ended so terribly with the crucifixion, and now they didn't know what to do.)
4. Teach them. (Jesus talked about Old Testament lessons and explained how their messiah had fulfilled prophecies and would always be with them and help them.)
5. Stay with them. (Jesus stayed with them and continued to listen and discuss.)
6. Worship with them. (He broke bread with them... in our daily walk this might just be offering a glimmer of hope or love-- doesn't have to be a formal worship service.)
7. Disappear. (Once they figured out it was actually Jesus talking to them, he disappeared. This was not abandonment; this was because they had been equipped for independence and could carry on without his physical self in attendance.)
I was floored. This is an excellent model for life! In fact, this was pretty much the model of what we attempted to accomplish at my last job (the program from which I retired).
1. Walk alongside people - spend time with our students, get to know them.
2. Ask questions - find out where they are in their life journey and what they hope to do next.
3. Let them express their understanding - how they see the world, what they understand and what confuses or scares them.
4. Teach them - we taught directly such as driver's ed training, job-seeking and interviewing skills, or we found training programs and other sources that could teach them what they needed to learn.
5. Stay with them - oh, yes. We needed to stay with them and help keep them on the right road.. again and again.
6. Worship with them - of course we were a public school district, so we did not worship, but we introduced things that would bring them joy and pleasure in addition to all the work they were doing (such as canoeing on the Mississippi, baking cookies, raising money for Pennies for Peace).
7. Disappear - once we felt they had been equipped for independence, they graduated!
I didn't know that all those years I was working, I was actually doing a Walk to Emmaus! No wonder I loved my job and found it so satisfying. I loved doing something that felt important and having a hand in making a difference in young adults' lives!!
Lately I have been thinking that my new job isn't quite as satisfying as that. I knew from a young age that I wanted to work in a career that helped people. I was lucky to end up in just such a career! My new job... it's not quite as obvious how I am of help.
Well, tonight, late on a Sunday night, I went in to work for a short two-hour shift. They were desperate for more people, so I said I'd go. It was a very fun and fulfilling shift! I ended up in a long conversation in which someone needed help and was getting it, very gradually, and as the person learned the steps, s/he was getting excited and was so thankful. This person's eyes lit up and s/he became much more energetic. I'm just a go-between at my new job, but felt so happy to be a part of this process. It was a miniature Walk to Emmaus.
I drove home feeling happy and cheered up after feeling kind of blue all day. Nothing fills my cup as much as feeling that I am contributing to people in a positive way, making a difference, helping fill a need, no matter how small.
If you aren't a churchy person (or even if you are) and you read this post all the way to the end, do you agree that these 7 principles can be applied in all our daily activities, as we share our Life Journey together?? I hope so. I am going to post the above 7 Principles at home and try to remember to Walk to Emmaus every day of my life! I know I won't be perfect at it (I surely wasn't perfect at it on my previous job nor am I perfect at my new job), but it's an excellent Life Model that I want to keep in mind.