The Importance of Restorative Ministry
I was 18 and freshly out of my final meeting that temporarily ended my ministry at my home church. I was sitting at home with my family and Steve wondering how this had all gotten so out of hand. I was broken, I was hurting and I was certain I wanted nothing to do with the local church. This night that I have dubbed the “Night with the grace Killers” was going to end any future career in the church, that I was sure of.
But God had other plans for my brokenness.
I returned to Sterling with a chip on my shoulder but did not pull out of my local church. Yes, I found it hard to go, something my pastor noticed. I shared the story of that night with one of my professors (a former cult fighter) and through that God raised up and surrounded me with men who were going to speak life into me and do that work (with the help of the Holy Spirit) that it took to restore my life, relationship with God and my relationship with the Church.
As hard as this may be to believe this kind of work, the work done by my mentors, various deprogrammers and friends seems to be getting rarer and rarer in the church. People come out of abusive churches or relationships completely disillusioned and there is nobody there to help them pick up the pieces. So these broken ones have no choice but to bury themselves under a façade of self-supporting strength, with the mentality that there is no one to lean on, no one to hear, no one to love them.
Why Restorative Ministry?
But if we are to do any form of ministry then we must first ask the question of Why it is so important.
This answer is simple, we are commanded too. If we want to “Make Disciples of all nations” (Matt 28:19), then there must be some form of restorative work that takes place. Whether that is restoring the person in the sense of understanding simple faith and relationship with God or restoring the person to a right understanding of truth, God and their identity, discipleship is restorative.
For example, take the man who was once a home-wrecker. He becomes a Christian, now his ideas of relationships need to be restored, or in this case changed, to reflect the newness of the mind and heart transformed by Christ. This change is not done by the one doing the discipling, they are simply a guide through scripture, change comes from the renewal of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5). Or the young girl who is raped, she now has a warped perception of who she is. If she is a Christian the task at hand is to restore her identity, the way that she perceives herself, and do so in the light of Christ’s death and resurrection on the Cross.
Another reason other than life transformation is the renewal of hope. Hope is fleeting in the lives of anyone who has been abused. Abuse victims tend to think that because they were abused every other thing in their lives is going to go negatively. Maintaining an attitude of positivity towards them helps them to regain hope. Hope is essential to the Christian Walk, it is important to recognize that we have hope, we have no need to despair because Christ has given us hope. We also know that “Endurance produces character and character produces hope and hope does not put us to shame. (Rom. 5:4).
So why do restorative ministry? So that others know the Hope that comes from knowing Jesus Christ our Lord. To restore hope to the lives of the saints who have had it destroyed. This is why restorative ministry is so important and so needed, so many have lost hope because of the actions of abusive or tyrannical leaders.
Take the Lead and help others to find the hope that they have in Jesus Christ.