Is your ministry yours?
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about ministry. The building, growth, and sustaining of a ministry to be exact.
All three of my kids went to a Christian University that pushed the theme of servant leadership and they were constantly reminded that good leaders will always serve those they lead. That leadership is not about power and control but about desiring that those we lead far exceed our accomplishments and excel at what God has planned for them to do.
In this selfie, selfish, and self-focused world, leading is often more about getting people to do what you want them to do than it is about seeing other’s potential and encouraging it, even if it doesn’t benefit you. So many ministries use the world’s methods rather than heaven’s blueprints to structure their organizations. Too many churches are led by pastors who think and act as though they are running their own business.
How many churches and ministries, at their core, believe that everything belongs to Jesus? How many see what they are building as part of the Kingdom and not just their own kingdom?
I wonder if this might be a good litmus test as to whether or not your ministry is really all about Jesus? Let’s say another ministry/church comes to town, one deeper, stronger, more united with Christ. They are grounded in the apostolic and prophetic. They intimately know Holy Spirit and live from heaven to earth. They begin to grow quickly and some people you serve leave to go there. You quickly see significant growth in them. There is an obvious grace upon the work this church/ministry is doing. The leaders are more spiritually mature believers than you. Certainly, they have something you don’t. Could you be happy for them and ask God to continue blessing them? Or would you see them as competition?
If presented with the option, could you fold your ministry into their’s and work under them? Be honest with yourself, right now? Does the very thought of that make you cringe? Make you protective of what’s yours? Would you do anything to come up with new ideas or maybe analyze what they are doing and copy some of it?
What if merging with them meant you would serve their vision, not your own, but you would be personally closer and more connected to Jesus? More intimate with the triune God? Would that make a difference to you?
If you have God’s nod of approval and you still can’t fathom this merge you should probably hand in your tax-exempt status and admit that you’re not running a ministry for the Kingdom but your own small business.
Let’s consider that the people we read about in the Bible were real. They were human just like us and many had the distinct disadvantage of living on the other side of the Cross. They didn’t live filled with the Holy Spirit. So let’s see how some handled this same situation. John the Baptist had a ministry given to him by God. He was born and created for it. His ministry was growing and he was becoming well known. He sent his followers to Jesus, his own cousin, and said that he himself must decrease.
The Pharisees, on the other hand, had quite a different reaction to the new guy in town. They lied, deceived, gossiped, plotted, planned, and eventually killed their competition.
Now, how did you answer those questions?