Ministries Must Have Relationships


One of my personal goals for 2019 (strangely enough) is to do less, emphasizing the quality of work over quantity. To help with this, I’ve eliminated every ministry that doesn’t take place in Barrouallie, the village where I live except one at the local prison.

This meant among other things no longer ministering at a Secondary School that brought me in twice a week for reading help. Towards the end of 2018 I began working with an older group of students there, and they were interested in doing more.

I didn’t walk away because they didn’t have a need (there definitely was), but because I couldn’t develop strong relationships with the students meeting twice a week for 30 or 40 minutes.

And Ministry must have Relationships

One of the blessings of living in a small village is I’m able to engage with children, teens, or adults outside of a ministry environment;

  1. As I pass out tracts during my morning walk
  2. Play organized games with children at the park
  3. Wait outside the school for children who come to Bible Club
  4. While taking my dog for a walk
  5. or going for a run

The interesting thing is those interactions outside of ministry like computer tutoring, Bible club, or reading help seem to make a deeper impact on them for Christ.

One of the experiences that really made me rethink serving at the Secondary School was a student who I helped with reading there last year. He could read pretty well by the time we were done, but because other subjects were poor as well, he didn’t even come to take the exam (knowing he would fail)

Could I have brought grades up in all of his subjects? I honestly don’t think so. However only having a short time with him twice a week kept me from helping in any other areas.

On the other hand, a boy who I’ve been working with at a local school since the Fall is making great strides in his reading. When we began he was scared to death of books, but Monday morning he read off sight words without any help at all! I’ve also seen growth in other areas of his life (confidence, self-control) because we are able to spend time together outside of school.

Monday reminded me of my time serving as a missionary to Australia where God allowed me to get involved in many different volunteering ministries. While useful, most of them didn’t yield fruit since for the most part I would only meet with individuals once a week. This is definitely better than nothing, but didn’t make a deep impact.

Living (and serving) in Barrouallie has taught me ministry is best done after earning peoples trust. This can be difficult since they see you on your good and bad days, but the lasting fruit makes those challenges worth it.


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