Photo of "gold in the pan"

What is the “Gold in the Pan” Philosophy of Ministry?

The Philosophy

Since a few days ago when we enjoyed three separate phone conversations, the first with a 17-year-old girl, the second with a 21-year-old guy, and the third with a 20-year-old guy, I’ve been reflecting on a personal ministry principle I’ve called “seeking for gold in the pan.”

New-to-Montana-ministry people are often wise enough to seek mentoring and advice from Christians who’ve been around the area for a long time; some of those humbler young men and women even come to Karen and me for guidance. One of my little nuggets (excuse the pun) of wisdom is that we always need to be seeking for gold in the pan.

My comparison relates our work to that of a prospector who dips and washes his / her way through a lot of gravel, constantly looking for bright glisters of true gold. Of course in serving the Lord among people we do our best with God’s strength to reach all the souls around us, but there are times when He makes it clear that He is entrusting us with a small percentage of deeply committed and called ones.

As a prospector with tweezers lifts the little nuggets from the pan and sets that gold aside for special care and refining, so we need to be watching for certain individuals into whom God directs us to pour our teaching and lives. Those three young people we talked and prayed with recently as well as a deeply committed couple we pre-marital counseled are all, praise be to God, examples of “gold in the pan.” What joy to be permitted by the Lord to watch Him mature them and call them to special fields of service with and for Him!

A good question to ask myself: Am I a nugget of God’s “gold in the pan”? And another: Do I look around myself for a couple of noticeably motivated individuals the Lord might enable me to nurture in their human and spiritual development?

The Contest

A nice prize awaits the first person to answer these three questions correctly:

1. In the photo above I took of tiny pebbles with several little gold nuggets that belong to Karen, how many pebbles are there?

2. In the same photo, how many gold nuggets are there?

3. The number of nuggets is equal to what percentage of pebbles?

This contest is now over. Congratulations to the winner, William Alexander Dyrland-Marq!


An ex-patriate Australian living full-throttle in Big Sky Country until he “lays rubber all the way into Heaven!”

11 Responses to Grahame’s “Gold in the Pan” Philosophy of Ministry and a Contest

  1. William Alexander Dyrland-Marq says:

    1. There are 53 pebbles excluding the gold nuggets, and 58 pebbles including the gold nuggets in the count.

    2. There are five gold nuggets.

    3. The gold nuggets are equal to 8.62069% of the total objects, or 9.433962% of the number of pebbles excluding the nuggets from the total.

  2. Kim McCart says:

    If I’m counting correctly, here are the answers.
    1. 45 pebbles
    2. 5 nuggets
    3. 9%

  3. Danielle King says:

    Great article! Praying always to be a little nugget of value, and that He’ll send some my way as well 🙂 No need to answer this anymore 🙂

    • No need to reply, but…Karen & I were just talking about you in a complimentary way over the weekend! Yes, dear Danielle/Nellie, you are the real AU, and I know a some nuggets that have already been in your tweezers. Love ya, Lady. GN

  4. Scott Sand says:

    Great thought and well worth the time and effort to look for those gold nuggets in our lives.
    Contest answers,
    1) 50 pebbles
    2) 5 nuggets
    3) 10%
    Thank you,
    In Christ
    Scott Sand

    • Spot on, S.S. Will Dyrland Marquis already submitted the right answer, but I reckon you should also receive a prize. If I don’t forget, I’ll bring it to you on Saturday. God’s peace. GN

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.