Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith. 1 Thessalonians 3:10 (NIV)
Here are three ways Paul ministered to the church in Thessalonica:
Ministry of presence
When he couldn’t go himself, Paul sent Timothy to find out about their faith (3:5). So Timothy asked people, “How is all that is happening affecting your faith? What are the biggest questions for you?” This is real pastoral care. He goes, he asks, and he listens.
Think about Christians you know who are under great pressure. We need to practice a godly vigilance for the spiritual good of others. Ask them: “How is your faith? What’s happening to your love for Christ? How is this affecting your ability to pray?”
Ministry of the Word
Paul sent Timothy, then he wrote them a letter. This is no ordinary letter, it was written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. It was unique. We can’t write more Scripture for people whose faith is under fire, but we can read and help them apply the Scriptures to their lives.
Ministry of prayer
What a strength it is when someone says, “You have been on my mind. I’ve been praying for you.” This is a ministry for all of us. Who do you know whose faith is under fire? Your calling is to strengthen and encourage them in their faith.
These are the elements of true pastoral care. This is how you minister to a friend, a neighbor, or a family member whose faith is under fire. You go, you read the Bible, and you pray. If you cannot go yourself, you make sure someone else goes for you.
Do you know someone whose faith is under fire? Would you be willing to reach out to him or her today?