BUILDING BLESSED MINISTRIES IN 2014
Author: Karen Lindwell-Bourg
Read Acts 1
And let’s talk about Building a Blessed Ministry
Jesus promised the Holy Spirit; He offered proofs – appearing to the disciples and to others and speaking about the kingdom of God. (v1)
He promised baptism by the Holy Spirit. (v2,5)
He promised power from the Holy Spirit – power to be His witnesses. (v8)
I notice he didn’t offer me power to jump tall buildings, or even to build a $ix-figure ministry or successful ministry (at least not yet in this my initial quest for what the Bible says about building a ministry). Do I believe on these promises from God and do I live my life and run my ministry – which is a gift from God – based on His promises?
He explained that we may not know times or seasons “that the Father has fixed by His own authority”. (v7)
We entrepreneurs often wonder what happens next and what we should be doing next month and how to plan accordingly. The first time my Ministry Consultant/Coach told me to step out and take action, to be willing to “get it wrong”, I thought she was bananas! But she’d led to me to some new and wonderful heights in my private counseling practice, so I stepped out. I started a group in my county we call the Helping Professionals Alliance – I introduced myself to a dozen folks, told them what I thought we could do with this group, and held a meeting. Here we go! We are willing to evolve over time based on the needs of the group. Yes, we will proceed prayerfully and ask God for favor all along the way. But in the past, I would still be sitting here at my computer planning and not doing, therefore not learning or growing. [One of our members of this Helping Professionals group agrees, saying “Good point! I made this same discovery recently. I thought I couldn’t create a Facebook page until I had my ministry set up, but you encouraged me to branch out. Now I’m working harder on getting my ministry set up because I have a Facebook page.]
Christ Jesus promised He would come again. (v11)
Do I live as if He will come again? I have a friend, Karen, who has endured more health issues than my whole family has suffered combined. She sure bears these trials with grace – what a testimony she is. Last year she said, “There is a beauty in living like you’re dying. He [God] is Sovereign; cancer is not.” I typed her words into a notes app on my iPhone so I would revisit them often. I want to live like she lives. Does living this way influence the way I build my ministry? It should.
The disciples replaced Judas with Matthias.
One of the things I struggle with the most is the inevitable coming and going of people in my ministry – clients who don’t say goodbye, Associates within the ministry, and networked peoples and groups without who come and go. (Kind of defines the idols of my heart, right?!)
They were in one accord. (v14)
In verse 14 they = brothers and sisters. The plural Greek word adelphoi (translated “brothers”) refers to siblings in a family. In New Testament usage, depending on the context, adelphoi may refer either to men or to both men and women who are siblings (brothers and sisters) in God's family, the church.
I may get too close to my clients, I don’t know. I do know that I consider Associates within the practice as “family” as we grow together through supervision and shared moments in the lives of our counselees and in each other’s lives. What a blessing to have them near and to call them brothers and sisters.
The disciples returned to Jerusalem and to the upper room; they devoted themselves to prayer. (vv12-14)
Let’s be honest. When was the last time you defined your prayer life as “devoted”? The most fervent years of prayer for me surrounded the 4 years my husband Tim struggled with 3 cancers and the myriad and difficult surgeries and treatments that followed. The next fervent years of prayer were the years following his death when I felt like I had to learn to breathe again and I worried about raising 3 little kids without him. Most of those prayers were guttural cries for help, but as I read back over journals during those times, I see that some of them were devotional = worshipful and focused on God and who He is and how He heals.
I’m not willing to ask God for a series of trials like those just to be close to Him again at that level of intensity, but I am going to more fervently ask Him to teach me to pray with devotion and to pray worshipfully!
And they prayed, “You, Lord, who knows the hearts of all, show which one of these two You have chosen. [Barsabbas or Matthias to replace Judas] (v24)
Fellow entrepreneurs often ask what path to follow, how to choose the best course of action, how much to give – even how much to sacrifice to grow a ministry. Someone recently said, we have to choose and God doesn’t always write across the sky the message we hope for outlining our best choice. I have to continue to ask Him for the best path, and consider along the way which choices on this journey will honor the Lord and bring Him glory. Then I must step out in faith. I love the analogy of the headlights on the car – they only allow us to see so far and until we move into the light provided, we will make no progress. Only as we follow the Lord into the light He has provided will we see the next portions of light and be guided into the future of these, our God-given ministries.
May God richly bless our ministries to others!
Posted on September 2, 2011