Monday, May 2, 2011

You're a Minister, Not A Spectator! - Tips for Partnering With God

So, you want to serve Jesus? I certainly hope so, I know I do!

I spent a major part of my Christianity in an "everyone gets to play" church atmosphere. Sure there were limits, but we were all trained to pray for others, teach basic doctrine, evangelize, and flow with the Holy Spirit. (HERE is more on that.)

This week, we didn't really have a topic, so you'll just have to stop by Kingdom Bloggers each day to see what you get! 

There are probably a few things that you should know before you get into ministry. The first is that it takes faith and might not go quite the way you envisioned. We have an adversary who is seeking to devour us, you can be sure of that. We also struggle with our flesh, along with the damage that has come to us from our sin, and the sin of others against us; we are not all that healthy.

Even Paul suffered as he partnered with God to take the kingdom back, as he was buffeted by the devil.

In Luke 22:31,32, Jesus warned Peter that Satan would sift him like wheat. But, Jesus had prayed for Peter; and Peter would eventually be restored to minister to the brethren. Though Satan would try, he didn't destroy Peter's destiny.

Possibly you just want a peaceful existence and you do what you can at your local church to serve others. I know I did. However; when you and I got saved we joined an army: the Army of God. Regardless of whether you chose to engage or not, there is a battle, and here are your marching orders.

Matthew 11:12 From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force. KJV

Beyond what the devil is doing, and will continue to do until the end of time, there are some things that we can do to enter into a partnership with God that is effective and fruitful for the Kingdom.

After 30+ years as a believer, here are some things that I have learned about serving God. I hope you'll find them helpful. I have spent a considerable amount of time in church as a spectator showing up for services, meetings, home-groups and Bible studies - but Jesus asked us to serve Him, isn't it time to get out there?

-1 Random meetings (divine appointments) with Christians on the street have produced more ministry invitations than I ever had from attending a local church. 1 meeting turned in to 2 trips to Brazil where I ministered 2 or 3 times a day for weeks. The other was a guy I just decided help bring his belongings up to a third floor apartment; that "chance" encounter gave me 12 months of preaching and ministry engagements. You are the church, and wherever 2 or 3 come together...

-2 If you are going to choose a church to be a part of, find out what their vision is. They may have a heart for evangelism, a heart for pastoring and healing, or a heart for revelation. If your personal ministry vision is something that is unlike theirs, KEEP looking, keep asking God. If you are ready and willing to be used, then you'll need to be some where that can happen.

-3 Assess your ministry and spiritual gifts and see how they might fit into your local church. You and God need to work out your calling. It's worth the meeting to say to leadership, this is on my heart, and this is who I am, can you use me? I'd really like to serve Jesus here. You just might be the person they are looking for to lead a ministry.

-4 Ministry can easily flow out of relationship - and should! Have gatherings at your home and allow anyone to come. I tried home-groups, marriage groups and movie nights. God is about small beginnings-- don't despise them.

-5 Character and humility is essential, but not required. When God does use us, it is easy to get all big on ourselves. It happens, but don't disqualify yourself. Look at the credentials of Moses, Paul and Gideon.

-6 If you need a mentor or an equipper, press those that can help you. I had some wonderful experiences carrying the briefcase of a highly regarded minister. Another time, I drove a big name minister around my region for 4 days. I took him to dinner, carried his stuff, dropped him at meetings and at the hotel. I learned so much from that time.

-7 Prayer and fasting are different for each of us, just make it personal with God.

We often share personal stories here on KB, and here is a short one. While I was in the hospital a few weeks ago, there was a male nurse that came into check my vitals. I felt the Lord wanted me to pray for him. Trust me, I wasn't looking too good. It had been a few days since I had a shower, I had a myriad of cables connected to the heart monitor along with 3 IVs - not a very spiritual sight.

"Are you a Christian?" I asked.

He looked surprised, "Yes, I am."

"Could I pray for you?"

More surprise - "sure."

And so I prayed, asking Jesus to bless him in his work, and his family and children. I asked God to pour out his love on them, and touch his finances.

"How did you know I had a family?" he asked, a bit choked up.

"I didn't, God did." I replied.

He looked like he wanted to give me a hug, but it was certainly not possible. So he touched my hand and said, "God bless you." 


Duke Taber said...

Awesome post. I am leading an "everyone get's to play church" Or trying to. I never advanced the kingdom by being a spectator. In fact I left a few churches over my lifetime when it became obvious that only the professionals were allowed to do anything. I am just a balding man trying to get to heaven with a few things to lay at my Savior's feet. I don't have time to sit.

This is one of my favorite blogs.
Keep up the good work!

David-FireAndGrace said...

Thanks, Duke. Glad to have you on the advancing team!

Tracy said...

Awesome to read how God used you to pray for the nurse; especially when you think about how you were at a time of need in your life.....God's ways never cease to amaze me. Thanks for being such an encouragement; to see how you're always open to following God's lead.