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.
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?
- Start by making sure you were connected to a Godly, Bible believing church.
- Then make sure you are committed to a small group for Bible study and living life together?
- 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.