How People Change & Helping Others Change

In early 2009 Parkside Church embarked on a journey to equip our people for the work of inter-personal ministry.  To help achieve this objective, we chose to offer two courses, How People Change and Helping Others Change.  The goal was simple - help everyday people understand God’s plan for our lives, and be an instrument of change in other’s lives.  The How People Change course gives people a practical theology of the change process, while Helping Others Change equipped people with a practical theology for interpersonal ministry.

Throughout the 6 weekends we covered a whole host of topics ranging from how to speak the truth in love, understanding the dynamics of heart idolatry, a biblical view of trials and blessing in the life of the believer, and how to counsel the person, not the problem.  The amount of information covered was exceeded only by the enthusiasm of the participants to soak in these life-changing truths from the Word of God. 

The response to both courses has been better than we could have hoped for.  God has taught and grown a desire and a hunger for Christlikeness in the hearts and minds of those who have attended.  One attendee writes, “[This course] gave me a new way of looking at how I have been responding to many of the struggles I have faced.  I have a better and more biblical view of this world and have been reminded that my ultimate happiness may not be achieved in this world, but that I can look forward to this happiness in the world to come.”

One of the strengths of these two courses is that it gives everyday people in everyday situations the tools needed to be an instrument of change.  The courses are designed to help you take each moment of your day and maximize it for the kingdom.  They teach you how to take little conversations with your best friend at the park or with your golf buddy and turn them into opportunities to present the life-changing power of the gospel.  Another attendee writes, “I love how this material applies to every relationship we have, all the time.  It has been a great encouragement to remember and see that God’s Word is truly sufficient and provides for all our needs.”

Are you still unsure of whether or not God could use you in other people’s lives?  Are you fearful of taking the step of being an instrument in the Redeemer’s hands?  These are fears which are common to many people who fear taking that initial step of interpersonal ministry.  Paul reminds the Colossian church in Colossians 1:28-29, “We proclaim Him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.  To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.” Paul envisions an everyman ministry where the entire body of Christ is ‘growing up into Him who is the head, that is, Christ’.  The beauty of interpersonal ministry is that the motivation, message and methods are all founded in the person and work of Jesus Christ, not you! 

For those of you interested in picking up the books on your own and reading them, stop by the bookstore and pick them up, How People Change andInstruments in the Redeemer’s Hands.  I promise you this- these books will take you on a journey through God’s Word to help equip you for interpersonal ministry in the body of Christ.