I’ve asked my friend Dustin Hibbard who ministers at one of my favorite places on this good earth, Potter’s Inn, to write a guest blog today. You can find out more about the ministry by clicking here: Potter’s Inn. Dustin is a believer that is mature beyond his years. Do yourself a favor and spend some time thinking about this article he has written about Soul Care.
Soul Care is an exciting adventure in our spiritual lives bearing tremendous fruit,
countering the perspective some have that more important missions are before us.
I am witnessing in my own life and many who come here how significant this inner
work is for our vitality and effectiveness personally and vocationally. Soul Care
is serious business that reaps great rewards!
Today I want to share with you a bit of what this looks like and why we are engaged
here at Potter’s Inn to grow the Church through care of the soul.
In Mark, chapter 8:34-37 we read:
Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, Jesus said, “If any of you wants
to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and
follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give
up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it. And
what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything
worth more than your soul?”
Jesus talks about a turning point here, taking up your cross and even losing your
life for His sake. It seems that some today interpret this as a charge to lay aside
all personal ambitions and go follow Jesus in radical ways, without considering
their own life as important. This mentality drives a lot of people into the missional
movement at great price and even carnage to themselves and the Gospel message. Some
would say, “We must give up what we want and do what God wants.” Is this really
what Jesus meant for us? Why does He then question the benefit of gaining the whole
world (outer markers of success) in exchange for losing our own soul? This is a
shift back to the importance of who we really are – a charge to consider what we
can lose if we don’t carefully pay attention to what really needs to die.
Consider that what Jesus meant was not ambition for a life of personal sacrifice,
but instead death to our old nature or false self in order to really live. We can
identify within us a broken pot. Our souls are marred with stories of hurts, hangups
and habits that, frankly, come from our sin nature. This old way of living is not
the new way Jesus came to proclaim and make available to us. He is in the business
of making us new – moving us from our false self to our true identity as His beloved.
He the Master Potter, seeking to reshape our clay into a new pot as He sees fit.
There is a difference between “taking up your cross” for reasons of doing versus
reason of being. I believe Jesus meant the latter. He’s not concerned about what
we do so much as who we are.So taking up our cross and following Him is a call to
die to our old nature, our false self, or broken pot and allow Him to reshape us
into something new, beautiful and, yes, useful as He sees fit. What value is there
if we gain all the successes and benefits this world has to offer and even live
a life of service to God that is exemplary, yet lose the opportunity for the Potter
to do the inner work of restoring our broken soul.
The fact is, the soul – the palette of our life – is not fixed overnight. What took
a lifetime to mar, takes a lifetime to transform. It’s a process in which we allow
the Divine Potter to put His hands on us. It’s a choice to follow Him down to the
Potter’s house where the inner work happens. Jesus is inviting us to deep, inner
work in order to really live the life He wants for us.
When we talk about Soul Care, we are describing the process of turning from our
selfish ways, taking up our cross (death to our old ways, our false self) and following
Jesus on the journey of personal transformation. At Potter’s Inn, our team is simply
providing the ingredients that help us go down to the Potter’s house where He is
at the wheel. We are guiding the soul away from what is a lie to what is true,
from the voices of our false self to our true self. We are companions with pilgrims
who want the hand of the Potter on them.
We believe three ingredients foster care of the soul so well: Intimacy, Beauty and
Adventure. Intimacy is what God has wanted with us all along – to be close to us, very close.
Beauty is what God designed to get our attention. It’s a sharp point that pierces
our soul to wake us up and see Him! Adventure is what our hearts long for. Within
us is a strong desire to really live! And the adventure of plunging the depths of
our souls leads us to experience transformation from the Divine Potter.
The soul care process is like weed killer and fertilizer for a plant. It nips the
weeds at their root while boosting new growth. We are empowered to deny our old
self and walk into our new self. It is very exciting for us to watch people begin
to take up their cross and truly follow Jesus, some for the first time even after
years of professing to be a follower of Christ. This is how the Church will really