As we have already noted in earlier weeks, the discovery of individual or community felt needs will influence how we approach people and the programs and services that we make available to them. As we understand felt needs, we are better able to plan a sequence of programs that meets those basic needs, whether for an individual or a community.1
Read Luke 9:11. What does this verse indicate regarding Jesus’ desire to heal both physically and spiritually? In our spheres, how can we seek to do the same thing for those whom we are trying to reach?
No doubt many who came to Jesus were primarily focused on His ability to relieve physical suffering. Jesus would help them physically, of course, but He would also address a need that perhaps was not keenly felt by each person. That is, the need for spiritual healing.
While God’s people today are active in meeting people’s personal or community needs, they must follow Jesus’ example and somehow help to turn minds to eternal issues.
Examine Matthew 25:35–40. What is the message there? How seriously do we really take those words, or do we just see them as a metaphor? That is, if we really believed them, how differently would we act?
Ministering in any way to those whom Jesus loves and for whom He gave His life is ministering to Jesus Himself. This demonstrates just how closely related Jesus is with His creation. When any are hurting, He is concerned for them and sympathizes with them; we must do the same. Matthew 25:35–40 indicates that meeting felt needs does not always have to be a part of a fixed church strategy. When needs are discovered, they must be met, no matter where a church is in its sequential strategy. While many people will move along from program to program as their spiritual interests develop, others will need spiritual nourishment right away. A church need not abandon its planned sequence of programs and events, but it must be able to respond to any eventuality by having trained personnel and adequate resources at all times.