God loves when we love his children. He asks us to step into the “messy” lives of others both actively and practically. He even tells us that it is through our love for one another that we come to know him better (1 John 4:7). It is a gift, in and of itself, that he has invited us to take part in the care of his people—just as it is a gift that he’s provided others to take part in caring for us.
Time and again, we neglect this gift because it feels “too hard” or we don’t “know enough” to help. But the truth is, God has graciously given us all the tools we need to care for one another. He simply asks us to obey his commands to love others for the sake of his glory, our sanctification, and the benefit of his children. As with any seemingly daunting task, it’s helpful to outline several achievable steps.
First, begin by identifying whom God has put in your life that he is calling you to care for and minister to.
Most of us have several people in our lives who could use gospel care. If you are having a hard time thinking of someone in need of care, it’s possible you are keeping your relationships at a surface level. If that’s the case, pray that the Lord would help spark increasingly genuine conversations between you and others in your life. And pray that he would give you eyes to see and ears to hear the needs of others.
If a person’s name comes to mind, contact this person to tell them you’re praying for them. Ask how you can care for them, and take note of their needs (more direct application can be found in the book).
Schedule a time to meet face-to-face with the friend with whom you’ve committed to give care. It can be as simple as a get-together at a coffee shop or hanging out after the kids are in bed. Maybe it would work better to meet at one of your homes. It may even be more effective to talk as you participate in an activity, such as walking or doing yard work. However you choose to meet, make sure to get a time on your calendar.
For practical application and group study, see Intro to Messy Care and Discipleship by Scott Mehl et al. and be sure to check out the video series from IBCD.