I am observing a ministry that seems stalled. Waffling. Perhaps even dead in the water. Its failure is not for lack of sincerity, effort, or planning. Somehow, I get the impression that the leadership is running the ministry as you would a business: Mechanical. Cerebral. Calculating. The mystical power and presence of God seems to be absent, giving the impression that they are operating on spiritual fumes.
The questions that loom in my mind are: “Are these folks on their faces before God? Or are they stretched so thin that there is little time for unrushed meditation and prayer? Are they proactively creating space in their lives for silence and solitude before God that evidences itself in a deep and rich secret inner life with Christ? Or are their spiritual lives reflective of the dry bones of Ezekiel 37? Are their efforts in ministry characterized by a quiet, measured pace? Or by flesh driven dogged determination, or frenetic and disparate busyness? Is fruit naturally happening because they are personally experiencing the Vine-Branch relationship of John 15? Or is the ministry a forced, white knuckle affair?”
One reason I am wondering is because I am not seeing the natural expansion of the gospel, and fresh growth occurring through its leaders and members. So, what is missing? Jesus and the Book of Acts give us a clue by modeling biblical patterns for birthing God-ordained ministries:
- Jesus frequently stole away to be alone with the Father to receive His marching orders:“I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me” (Jn. 8:28). Thus He could legitimately claim, “… I always do what pleases [the Father]” (Jn. 8:29). (See Jn. 5:19b, 30; 12:49, 50; 14:10) (See also Mk. 1:35; 6:46; Lk. 5:15, 16; 6:12; 22:39-46; Jn. 17)
- The Book of Acts illustrates the critical role of prayer and the superintendence of the Holy Spirit in directing the ministry: “ While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them’” (Act. 13:2). (See Act. 6:4; 10:9-22; 13:2; 16:6, 7; 22:21)
CONCLUSION : True ministry occurs when we are stripped of self-directed efforts that are replaced by total reliance on the Holy Spirit’s central role:
- “When in His is mercy God leads a soul in the higher paths of sanctification, He begins by stripping it of all self-confidence, and to this end He allows our own schemes to fail, our judgment to mislead us. We grope and totter and make countless mistakes until we learn to mistrust ourselves and to put all our confidence in Him.” (Jean Nicholas Grou)
- “If we live by the Holy Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. If by the Holy Spirit we have our life in God, let us go forward walking in line, our conduct controlled by the Spirit” (Gal. 5:25 – Amp.).
QUESTION : So, who is really energizing and directing your ministry? You or the Holy Spirit?
This week, may you experience His grace, peace, and protection.
R. Dwight HillViews: 30