When Gospel Ministry Is No Longer Practical but Over-complicated
The funny thing about overseeing a ministry which has the word "practical" in the name is that, in reality, in a certain sense, there is nothing practical about gospel ministry. What do I mean by that? Well, simply put, I mean that there is nothing practical about carrying your cross. All of ministry is costly; it's service and sacrifice. When we talk about being practical at PMc we are referring mostly to our methods of service or philosophy of ministry. In this sense there are clearly ways that are practical and impractical.
How might one become impractical in missions? There are likely countless ways, but here are a few that come to mind:
1. I'm impractical if I spend too much time writing blog posts, books or articles like this one. Too much time writing, though it is beneficial to the church universal (we hope) in any case limits my time among the people of my city that are perishing in their sins without saving faith ...
2. I'm impractical if I spend all my time in prayer, and not any time in intentional evangelism. Prayer, communion with God, is what fuels our evangelism, but people will not get saved apart from us going and preaching, prayerfully. We must do both ...
3. I'm impractical if I modify the gospel message in order to get more people to say "yes" to Jesus Christ. Gospel ministers are often tempted to make the message less offensive in order to get more converts. The sad consequence is that the church 'grows' with more and more false converts ...
4. I can also be impractical if I spend all my time in evangelism, but none in discipleship with new converts. Many a ministry has devoted themselves to mass evangelism with little thought to discipleship. Yet, even if I devoted myself also to discipleship, without the end goal of church planting and training men in pastoral ministry, this too would be impractical.
5. I can be impractical if I focus so much on the ministry that I neglect to love and pursue my wife and family and to shepherd their hearts. Many a minister has loved God greatly by serving the church and reaching the lost while loving God poorly by neglecting his own family ...
As you can see, the list of ways we could become impractical in ministry could go on and on and on... Yet here below, and in particular in the linked article, are some general principles that must be considered by all of us as we consider our lives at the Lord's service, as His disciples in the allotted time we have been given. What we don't want is to over-complicate gospel ministry!
I recently came across THIS ARTICLE and it explains this concept so well. With a story about German tanks in WWII the author relates of how simple it is for us Christians to over complicate things or become 'professionals' and in so doing, render ourselves ineffective and unfruitful in God's Kingdom. The article also reminded me of why PMc has come into existence. PMc exists, in a large part, to enroll ordinary Christians from all walks of life in the extraordinary task of Biblical evangelism, discipleship and church planting.
Too often we fail to execute God's will and global mission of evangelizing, making disciples, and planting biblical churches simply because we make things more complicated than they need be. We gather constantly for more Bible studies and training, but sadly, we rarely gather to go with intention to do the 'dirty work' of reaching the lost and perishing with the Gospel message of salvation. This ought not be.
Be encouraged! The Lord is calling you to bear fruit in evangelism and discipleship and if you are truly in Him then you lack nothing. He has given you His Word and His Spirit. Let the love of God so fill you that you go to others with the Gospel that they may repent and believe in Jesus Christ for their salvation. To live out this calling we invite you to consider a Missions Trip with PMc. More info HERE !
Here are some quotes from the article to wet your appetite and encourage you to go read it in full for yourself:
"It seems to me that there are parallels with our gospel ministry. We are involved in spiritual warfare, but we can all too easily make the task more complex than it needs to be. God has supplied us with all that we needed to fight and win the battle. We wear his armour for protection, and our weapons are the gospel-word and prayer. Gospel ministry ought to be fundamentally simple: Glorify God, love people, pray for opportunities and boldness, tell people about Jesus."
"This tendency to over-engineer ministry also makes it harder to multiply ministry. If we make evangelism over-complex and intellectual, requiring lengthy training, then it is no wonder that we fail to produce confident church members who can speak simply to others about Jesus. We set examples and establish expectations that disempower them and make them feel inadequate and incapable of ever attaining the skills we have inadvertently taught to be essential."
"The vast majority of the work of the gospel in the world today is, as it always has been, done by relatively uneducated church members who love Christ, rely on the power of his Spirit, pray fervently, and have confidence that the simple gospel message declaring Jesus to be Lord is God’s power for salvation."
"We need to avoid the danger of over-engineering gospel ministry. It looks more impressive but is wasteful, unnecessary and ultimately reflects a lack of confidence in what God has supplied that will win the war."