Many define ministry in different ways. Some say it’s advancing the kingdom of God, others describe it as teaching people to follow Jesus, even some say it’s being the “hands and feet” of Jesus. None of these explanations are wrong, and each portrays a part of God’s overall mission to reach humanity. Of course there are probably endless ways to describe the mission of an endless God, but as of lately we’ve been noticing that ministry involves work.
Now, this is not necessarily the kind of work that proves your position, or validates your devotion to God in order to get something back. This is the work is spoken of in Ephesians 2 when Paul says, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10) This means, as pastor Obed often says, we aren’t saved by works, but we are saved to work.
So we all can agree that when we step into ministry we’ve got some work to do. Through Christ, we have souls to save, a gospel to preach, broken hearts to heal and so on. But in the midst of the “work of the ministry”, the temptation is to get so comfortable maintaining what we’re doing, that we never continue on to new or bigger things. When confronted with challenges, it’s easy to say things like “well this is all we’ve got”, or “we don’t have the resources to do that.” Although resources play a big part in how big something is, it doesn’t determine how impactful and fulfilling something is.
The writer of Ecclesiastes wrote, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might..” (Ecclesiastes 9:10a) This means whatever is in front of us, we’re going to make it better and do all that we can with it. Here’s a few thoughts on how to work with what you’ve got.
1. Passion comes from who you are not what you have
Working with what you’ve got starts by being passionate about who you are. It’s easy to get passionate when you have everything you need materially, but the reality is we already have all that we need within us. (See 2 Peter 1:3) Who we are as sons and daughters are what release passion into our souls. Not how many people come to our church, how big our building is, or how much money we’ve accumulated. Again these are all important things, but what we have shouldn’t bring us passion, it’s who we are.
2. Innovation should be your best friend
Innovation is becoming more and more valuable to the church today. With cultural changes and a constant influx of change in our society, the church needs to know how to change our methods without compromising our message. Great leaders can walk into a room and make small changes that make a big difference without spending a dime. When you look at your ministry, where are you innovating? Where are you trying new things while advancing and reaching more souls? It could be as simple as having your message outlines placed on the seats before service to as deep as changing the color of your children’s ministry walls. The point is, great leaders don’t just maintain what’s been established, they innovate and push toward what’s ahead.
3. Stewardship is a must
Jesus told a parable about three men who were given talents. When the master returned, he found two that had multiplied theres, and one who had done nothing. In his mind, he had a good reason for his actions, but in the mind of God this is far from the truth. The reality is we’ve all been given something. Some of us have big things, some of us have small things, but it’s not what we have that matters. It’s how we handle it. I’m often blown away by the faith of pastors in countries where Christianity is highly persecuted. They’re not concerned with buildings and sermon series, they’re concerned with keeping their congregations alive. They’re stewarding what they’ve been given.
In the same way, you and I have been given something to steward, something to innovate, and something to be passionate about. We’ve been trusted with the greatest message in the world, the Gospel. As the master in the parable of Jesus said to the first servant, I want to one day hear those words “Well done, good servant!” (Luke 19:17) It starts with working with what I’ve got, being passionate about who I am, innovating towards the next great things, and stewarding what’s been given to me.
We love you, we believe in you, we’re praying for you!