As Jesus is the cornerstone upon which the Church is built, so are his teachings the unifying cornerstone of Christian doctrine.

A Neglected Ministry

A church that I know has what they call a reconciliation ministry. It is certainly a good cause to reconcile the races, but there is an even more important reconciliation ministry that does not seem to be on the agenda of most churches that I know. That is the ministry of leaving the 99 and chasing the lost one.

In our previous conversations, we discussed how Jesus describes the little ones, those who take the lowest positions in our churches, and who in reality are the greatest in the kingdom. In Matthew 18:11-14 there is one small addition to this topic, that of the precious "little one" who goes astray.

On a personal note, when I left a particular church after decades of service, nobody came calling to see if I was okay. I was not, and the pain of that neglect, of that seemingly "we don't really care" attitude lasted for years. So where are those among us who leave the 99 who are in safety to chase after the one who is in trouble? As the Good Shepherd, Jesus chased me, but nobody else did. I hope that there are some among us who actually follow Christ's example in this regard.

Certainly this would be a difficult ministry. It might mean dealing with depression or anger or messy sins in the lost ones. It also might mean that a church would have to face its own sins and apologize or seek forgiveness about certain issues. It would take courage and a willingness to repent. I knew of one such ministry in a Baptist church where former pastors who had been mistreated by their congregations were brought to healing and restoration. Sadly, I know of no other such formal efforts. Yet, it seems that a ministry to lost "little ones" ought to be a high priority.

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