Tuesday, October 21, 2008
You can do a lot worse than follow Jesus. This applies not just to our beliefs but our practices. Like, how do you startup a new ministry? How about the answer, "Like Jesus told us to!" Here's Mark 6:7-10: Calling the Twelve to him, he sent them out two by two and gave them authority over evil spirits. These were his instructions: "Take nothing for the journey except a staff-no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. Wear sandals but not an extra tunic. Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town. And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave, as a testimony against them." Embedded in His instructions are some key ideas about starting a new ministry: 1. Build a Team. Notice that Jesus never asked anyone to "go it alone." If He had, there could have been 12 ministries, instead of 6. But Jesus knew that it would be better to have 6 strong and steady ministries, than 12 anemic discouraged ones. 2. Go with Empty Hands. While Jesus encouraged us to take people with us, he discouraged (demanded, really) that we not take stuff, not even essentials like food or a change of clothes. Why? He wants us to be in a position of vulnerability with people, not strength, where we need them as much or more than they need us. This is contrary to many church planters who want to be "fully prepared" before deploying. 3. Establish a Base of Operations. Jesus said, once you find a place of operational support, stop there, and instead of you continuing on, let that be a place from which the mission can be propagated. 4. Move out from there. How long do you stay at the base? Jesus said, "Until you leave that town." It's not if you'll leave, but when. The commission is not to stay, but to go. Jesus made the sequence clear: Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, the ends of the earth. Going means leaving behind a place of comfort for a place of challenge. But leaving behind a legacy as well - the presence of Christ, and fewer evil spirits.