Recently, my dear wife and I had the honor of welcoming a beautiful bundle of joy into our household! As first-time parents, we were delighted, proud, and in awe of God’s incredible gift to our home in the form of a small and endlessly adorable baby. I could not help but marvel at this incredible example of God’s new creation bestowed on our household with all of the intricacies of His design from tiny fingers and toes to a small, delicate nose. The glory of God was on full display in such a tiny, helpless but joy-inducing little one!

As far as we know, the Apostle Paul did not have any biological children, yet his ministry throughout the Mediterranean region brought so many into an intimate relationship with Christ Jesus with Paul as spiritual father! This led Paul to write things such as God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus. (Phil. 1:8) Paul longed to spend as much time with the church of Philippi as possible. He could not get enough of them! Towards the end of the epistle, we will further learn of how the Philippians have entered into a beautiful relationship of partnership with Paul at a time when other churches in their region could not be bothered. (Phil. 4:10, 14-16) What started as a spiritual parent-child relationship flourished into a ministry of mutual encouragement- a ministry of presence that was not limited by geographical separation. Paul and the believers of Philippi enjoyed each other’s company, and Paul’s desire to spend time with them was ultimately that they “may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again.” (Philippians 1:26)

How might you practice and develop a ministry of presence? Perhaps you have a friend who needs to hear a word of encouragement from you today or maybe you have a relative or an elderly neighbor whose day would be brightened up by spending 30 minutes with you this week. Friendships are an incredible gift from God where we can experience and delight in Jesus our source of life. May the Lord bless and allow your friendships to flourish!

Tim Mitchell
Welcome Specialist

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