Better together

I don’t want to oversimplify this, but I think the best way to do “ministry” is to follow the example of Jesus.

I know, it’s kind of like throwing the God-card down during a heated debate (you know, when someone stops the conversation by saying, “God told me…”), but I really can’t think of a better way, so… GOD CARD!

If He gave us a model, guess we should use it. Just saying.

I think this is the passage that has the clearest outline of how we do ministry.

Mark 6:7 And he called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. 8 He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in their belts— 9 but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics. 10 And he said to them, “Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you depart from there. 11 And if any place will not receive you and they will not listen to you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.” 12 So they went out and proclaimed that people should repent. 13 And they cast out many demons and anointed with oil many who were sick and healed them.

There is a whole mess of teaching points here in this passage and I’d love to talk on them all. Things like Jesus calling everybody before sending them out indicates that church and the gathering of the Saints is essential for the ministry.

Or, how about Jesus giving them authority? If we’re not seeing lives changed, brokenness healed and the devil run, then in whose authority are we really going out? There’s a scary thought, huh?

Or, how about that whole “shake the dust from your feet” kind of thing? I’ve heard that used in so many contexts, but here it’s quite clear. We’re not allowed to walk away from a ministry opportunity because we’re frustrated, or because they’re argumentative, or because it’s difficult in any way shape or form. The only out we seem to be given is if those we’re trying to reach flatly will not listen or pay attention.

So, we need to quit using the Scripture as an excuse to walk away simply because we’re frustrated with someone.

Again, this is a goldmine of ministry wisdom and potential, but I have one thing I want to focus my energy on this time.

“And he called the 12 and began to send them out two by two…”

You know, this is not an unusual pattern in Scripture. Paul and Silas, Paul and Timothy, Paul and Barnabas, Barnabas and John Mark, David and Jonathan, Moses and Aaron, the list could go on and on.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s Old or New Testament, it seems like God likes ministry to happen in partnership.

I find it interesting that in our current church culture ministry and devotional life are so individualistic and introspective.

I think there is a time to be alone, I think there is blessing in solitude, but in ministry it seems that almost always God has brothers and sisters standing together.

We currently train people to share their faith individually, to use their gifting as an individual, and to stand alone for the Lord no matter what circumstances you may have to endure.

I think those are all good things, but are we missing the mark?

Two by two, usually someone more spiritually mature along with someone who’s growing and excited. Together, they become a tandem effort that is supportive, mutually encouraging and doubly beneficial.

Let’s just get logical for a moment, a unicycle may look like fun but you don’t want to go cross country on one of those. A bicycle is faster, easier to ride and covers a lot more ground quickly. If you have to choose one, the bicycle is the way to go. 20120625-145258.jpg

So, let me encourage you believers out there. Whatever you do in ministry/life or for the Lord, let’s do it with two wheels on the ground.

You may have been a follower of Christ for a long time and been frustrated with your own understanding and maturity. Even though you have served for years and been connected to a church for as long as you can imagine, you seem to be growing so, so slowly.

I think the Bible teaches we need to partner up if we want to grow God’s way. As a pastor of 20 years I have seen this as the right prescription again and again.

Maybe you’re an older more mature believer, it’s essential that you bring somebody up behind you, strengthen somebody as you go along. Just remember to never do ministry alone.

If you’re making a visit take someone with you, if you’re reading a book read it with somebody else, if you’re stacking chairs in the fellowship hall don’t be a slacker grab someone and call them a fellow stacker.

Maybe you’re young in the faith and wanting to grow, then find a more mature believer and ask them to help raise you up. Let them stretch you with new ministry experiences, watch them and then model their behavior.

Don’t reinvent the wheel, but attach yourself to someone who’s already attached to the Lord and together you can move further and faster in your faith.

We live in a culture that is individualistic, pull yourself up by your bootstraps, and operates with an “I can do this all by myself” mentality.

But, as much as it is revered in society today, it’s simply not the Christian way.

We need mentors and we need to be mentors. Whether you are young in the faith and needing the stability of someone to walk before you to show you the way, or God has already put a few miles on you… just consider yourself a classic car, you’re valuable to somebody!

How do you find a mentor/mentee?

  1. Start by making sure you were connected to a Godly, Bible believing church.
  2. Then make sure you are committed to a small group for Bible study and living life      together?
  3. Finally, allow someone into your life and pour your life into theirs.

You were never meant to do this alone, and God’s Kingdom was never meant to be populated by lone rangers. This is a team and we only have One Superstar.

So, from this moment forward let’s live the Christian Life the way God intended… no less than 2 x 2.

Put some effort into it

I am always impressed when I read the Gospels at the tenacity of people who surrounded Jesus.

It seems like wherever He went there were great crowds, but in the midst of those crowds there was “the individual” who did whatever it took to get near the Savior.

What about Zacchaeus, you know, the wee little man. He was vertically challenged, so, in the midst of the crowd he ran ahead triangulating Jesus’ position, scurried up a tree and got a penthouse view of the parade.


Zach was allover it! Jesus rewarded Zach by calling him by name and inviting Himself to his home. Quite a day.

Then you have the four friends. These guys were over-the-top. Literally.

They had a friend desperately in need of a healing, and when Jesus was tucked away neatly inside a house and insulated by thronging crowds of people they did not let it deter them.

Up on the rooftop disciples pawed and down they lowered their friend to God… any similarity to a cheesy Christmas song is completely coincidental.

What a site that must’ve been! Jesus is teaching, the disciples are hanging out, all of a sudden a sunroof appears and down comes this completely helpless man being lowered by four of the most incredibly energetic friends you can imagine.

Sins were forgiven, health was restored, religious people were ticked, and one homeowner was busy filing an insurance claim. I’m sure it was amazing.

Then there was the occasion of Jairus, the synagogue ruler. He fought his way through crowds, but more than that, he thought his way through a religious identity.

As a religious leader in his own right it must’ve been humiliating to realize that you had to go to another teacher to have your prayers answered. But he was desperate for the life of his daughter which was ebbing away just over the hill at home.

He finds Jesus in the crowd and in full public view falls to his knees and begs for this renegade outcast teacher to come into this preacher’s established and traditional ministry and do what Jesus does… bring the healing.

A short walk later, a funeral crowd sent home, some gentle words said at the bedside of the 12-year-old now corpse and Jesus gave this little girl back to her daddy.

Talk about a revival meeting! Whatever Jairus lost, it was worth the price.

In the midst of that same story there was the old woman with the issue of bleeding. For 12 years she had suffered, been labeled unclean and had to avoid human contact.

She had tried everything she could, she’d given all she had and she kept getting worse. But, then she heard about this healer and risked it all.

Downcast face to the ground, making sure no one recognized her and shunned her away, she reached for the teacher in the pressing masses only touching the fringe of this robe.

And immediately, though no one else knew, she realized in her body… the nightmare was over. The most descriptive theological term for this moment I can come up with is simply ‘booyah’!

The similarity in all of the stories might be hard to see.

It’s not in the need of the one to be healed, or forgiven, or secured.

It’s not in the timing or the approach that they each had with Jesus.

The common bond between each of these is the incredible energy that the healed expended in finding the Healer.

Running ahead and climbing a tree just to catch a glimpse. Breaking and entering, vandalism and risk taking all for a chance of a face-to-face encounter. Loss of reputation, putting your career in jeopardy and humiliating yourself in public. Going for broke and believing that just a little of Him is worth more than anything you already have.

I guess the question I have for each of us is simple: Do we ever really press through the crowds to get to Jesus? Do we risk anything for a moment with the Savior?

Not just what I see in others as a pastor, but what I see in myself, is more than disturbing.

We sacrifice very little, we’re willing to endure almost nothing, and yet we have a sense of entitlement that God should meet me where we are, He should make Church attendance convenient, make Bible study easy, and allow prayer to be a one-sided conversation that turns into our personal wish list.

Basically, we assume we should be spoon fed our faith. Like we’re somehow doing God a favor by believing in Him, so, He must owe us.

Let’s be honest, for most of us we Church shop until we find one with a preacher we like, the music were entertained by, and an atmosphere that makes us comfortable… Oh yeah and don’t forget air-conditioning.

The next time you’re really in need of an answered prayer, a healing, or a miracle from God please remember the stories that we’ve reviewed here. It’s worth it to be inconvenienced for the sake of gathering an audience with the God of the universe.

You may have to fight the crowded schedule, climate a tree of opposition, humble yourself before family and friends, or just be willing to take what you can get as you reach out for the fringe of his robe.

I guarantee you, it’ll be worth everything you put into it.

Mark 5:27 “She had heard about Jesus, so she came up behind him through the crowd and touched his robe…”

Wrapping it up

We are neck deep in camp season 2012, I love camp!

I thought it would be fun to open the window and let you see a little bit of camp life, especially if you haven’t been there for while.


We had an interesting situation in which I was asked to be the camp pastor for one camp on a Monday through Friday and another that started Friday night through Tuesday.

The only problem was, they were 11 hours apart. So, I asked the second camp to schedule with me if we could try something different.

As a video driven multi site church pastor, I asked if we could make the Friday morning finale session a video sermon.

I know it was an odd request for a children’s camp, but I think it came off really well. The added benefit is that it produced a video I can share with you!

I hope you enjoy, this is a little glimpse into the last morning session of CrossSeekers children’s camp 2012.

By the way, you have to imagine me running around that campground with my tripod and camcorder. Then laying on a camp bed producing and editing.

Good times, good times…

SALT & LIGHT from Andy Addis on Vimeo.