I find myself testifying again and again to young people lately about what we all need most for ministry.
I'm a bit suprised at the answer itself.
First, here's what the Holy Ghost and word is not telling me.
He's not telling me folks need to ally themselves with denominations. Why is this? I have lots of ideas. But perhaps it's because there are plenty of denominational "ministries" already. Or, perhaps because a good local church nearby is better than any denomination far away.
He's also not telling folks they need to go to seminary or bible college. Again I don't know why. And again, I have lots of ideas. Perhaps this is so because to do that so many would go into debt. Debt kills off ministry, faster than poverty, faster than lack of training, lack of mentorship or anything else for that matter.
Folks with too much debt have no time to do ministry.
He's also not telling me that only men should be getting prepared. Women too- not to have authority over men or to pastor, but to use their God given gifts and talents. I see this first hand in all areas of ministry. I do healing and deliverance, or better said Jesus does does it through me, and I know it is a great blessing to form a team on which women serve.
Just like a medical surgeon has a full team, so church ministry teams, especially when serving women.
If that's what He's not saying, then what is the Spirit and the word saying about what's most necessary for ministry?
1. A diligent and great faith: "But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must belive that He is, and that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." Hebrews11,6.
Ministry is more than a potential paycheck.
It often is no more complicated than what God puts right in front of our faces every day. The "Book of Acts Of The Apostles" is not "The Book Of The Beliefs Of The Apostles."
If we confidently act on the promises of God again and again, then we please God. Day after day. How much does my faith yesterday please God today? I don't know exactly, but I'm thinking not so much as confidently acting on the promises today.
We are called to not just profess our faith, some time ago, but to live by faith. This living by faith brings the living power of God into our lives, and this living by faith is how we learn to minister the salvation of Jesus.
We might think it might be hard to work up and find ministry. This is like totally untrue, a lie from the devil. Ministry lands like a bird right in front of our faces. It's all around us, it's just that so few are willing or empowered to do any of it.
We hear a lot about the gifts (greek = charismata) of the Spirit these days when the "charismatic" church is ascending to more power. These gifts empower ministry, praise God for all the gifts, for the charismata. But if one in a hundred people who speak so glowingly of these gifts mention the threshold gift of [great] faith (1Corinthians12,9), I'd be suprised.
Yet it is the this very gift of great faith, miracle faith, that spurs folks on to ministry. If folks prayed half as much for the gift of great faith as they did for the gift of private praise tongues, there would be no shortage of ministry in the body of Christ;
I've found that ministry with a 20 year old novice with courage is more effective than a 60 year old "expert" without it. As Paul tells the immature church at Corinth, "Keep alert, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong." 1Corinthians16,13
There's nothing that gives us quicker gospel feet than when someone in ministry steps up in courage and does something that they long have known Jesus wants them to do. Getting after gospel ministry takes courage. It's when we stop rationalizing and making excuses and step out and exercise the right hand power of Jesus, that ministry gets done.
Or consider this question.
Have you ever noticed how many hundreds of millions of Christians there are, yet how hard it is to get even two of us to work together in ministry? Why?
Well, today there are legal issues. And there have always been ego issues, and cultural and language issues, and doctrinal isssues, and denominational turf issues, and personality issues. All these inhibit ministry.
Yet, truth be told, they are often just pretexts to avoid ministry, and working together.
The number one ministry killer out there is lack of courage.
But the number one ministry waterfall is when one person steps up in courage. With this faith courage there is the potential to look beyond all those ministry inhibitors I mentioned. "Be courageous" Paul tells the self-centered, gift-centered, personality-centered, pride-centered church at Corinth.
Stop with all the factions and exercise some courage.
It's not so much that we don't know what God wants. Or, we don't have the resources; or even that ministry requires a certain level of unselfishness and training, it's that many folks lack the courage in whatever situation to actually do the faith they know to do already;
3. Strength: "The Lord stood by me, and gave me strength." 2Timothy4,17.
This God sourced strength is Paul's testimony to his spiritual son Timothy, of weak knees and stomach. Ministry is not for wimps! It's service. It's carrying water, slavery to Jesus, bearing each others burdens. It's not for the faint of heart.
It can be great fun too, but the fact is sometimes it's yucky and seems heavier than we can bear.
This is when we cast the "burden" of ministry on Jesus, because he cares for us too, who attempt to minister in his name.
This attempt, and any ministry that praise God actually happens, sugars down to strengthening others in some way, by His Godly love, by encouragement, by His solace, by correction, by admonishing, by testimony, by zealous teaching.
At it's core it's about sharing the Holy Ghost and word-based conviction and strength that comes only from God, who is Spirit, Himself.
At Luke 22,32 Jesus tells the weak Peter, who is about to betray Jesus, that when Peter returns to the Lord he will "strengthen the brethren."
Only when we stay close to the Lord, repentant close, submerged in his word and Spirit, will we have the strength to strengthen the brethren, only then have something good and powerful from God to hand on to others.
Again, so many have the knowledge of what to do, but so few who have the strength to jump into the action.
So My testimony about ministry, especially dear young folks, is about these three.
Faith brings us through the threshold of ministry. Courage puts our faith into ministerial action. And only super human strength, the strength of the Holy Spirit who has found a willing Temple, actually does and sustains ministry.
There's no whining in baseball, or ministry.
So, get after it!
And if you are in a church that only lets the pastor minister, or a very select few, kindly suggest to the elders that perhaps it's time for all God's people to minister.
I think they will know what you mean.
Anyway, happy ministry to you all.
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Tobin Hitt is the founder of the Zion Pentecost Mission. He is open to gospel partnership with all, and identifies with Paul's description of our mission as ambassadors for our king, Jesus, urging all to reconcile with God (2Cor.20-21). He resides in Cheshire, Connecticut.read more...