Some of our leaders at Gateway Austin gathered together for some training and fun at Reunion Ranch this past Saturday. Our Grow Pastor, Rick Shurtz shared the following insights on simplifying to make ministry doable.
“Your opportunity today: God, what do you want me to hear in this? Which points are for me?
1. Ministry is not doable.
- We are called to do the miraculous.
- We are called to raise the dead.
John 14:12 – Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
Ephesians 2:1-4 – As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.
2. Ministry is hard.
Just because it is difficult does not mean that something’s wrong.
2 Corinthians 4:7-9 – But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
Ephesians 6:12 – For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms
3. Ministry is worth it.
We can do many important things in life, but there’s not much we can do that is eternal.
1 Thessalonians 2:19 – For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you?
John 4:34-36 – “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. Even now the one who reaps draws a wage and harvests a crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together.
4. Ministry takes spiritual power.
- Yes, we can do some good.
- No, we cannot raise the dead, truly liberate, truly set free.
2 Corinthians 10:4 – The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 – But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
5. Ministry takes wisdom.
Proverbs 15:22 – Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.
Proverbs 11:30 – The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, And he who wins souls is wise.
Two questions for perseverance in ministry:
- Am I engaging ministry with the Spirit?
- Am I engaging ministry wisely?
1. Am I engaging ministry with spiritual strength or human effort?
1 Peter 4:11 – If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
2. Do I pray for my ministry and ask others to pray for my ministry?
2 Corinthians 1:8-11 – We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.
Psalm 46:10 – He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
3. Am I driven by love?
1 Corinthians 13:1-3 – If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
- Do I care about the people I’m serving?
- If not, do I see them with God’s eyes or from the world’s perspective?
- From the world’s perspective, most of the people I serve don’t need anything.
4. Am I using my spiritual gifts and passions?
- I am not the Messiah
- I am not the whole body of Christ
Ephesians 2:10 – For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Romans 12:3-8 – For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
5. Am I engaging the spiritual disciplines that promote strength and courage in my ministry?
Scripture memory and meditation
Joshua 1:8-9 – Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
1. Am I engaging ministry with habits, practices, and disciplines that increase my effectiveness and the effectiveness of those around me?
Proverbs 19:2 – Desire without knowledge is not good— how much more will hasty feet miss the way!
2. Am I on mission?
- Jesus could have been pulled into MANY things.
- He focused on his MAIN thing.
Luke 4:42-43 – At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. But he said, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.”
3. Does the way I invest my time, money, and energy reflect kingdom values or the world’s expectations?
Proverbs 23:4 – Do not wear yourself out to get rich; do not trust your own cleverness.
Matthew 6:25-34 – Do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? … Why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not dressed like one of these…Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘what shall we eat?’ Or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
4. Do I know how to fulfill my mission?
Proverbs 22:29 – Do you see someone skilled in their work? They will serve before kings; they will not serve before officials of low rank.
2 Corinthians 3:4-6 – Such confidence we have through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
5. Do I balance work and play?
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 – There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens … a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance…
6. Am I engaging the physical disciplines that promote strength and endurance in my life?
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 – Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
Psalm 127:2 – In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat— for he grants sleep to those he loves.
7. Am I weary or am I tired?
- Faithfulness leads to work which makes one tired.
- Unfaithfulness leads to stress which makes one weary.
- A train running on the train tracks will get tired.
- A train going down the track with it’s wheels out of alignment will get weary.
- Different forms of lack of faithfulness
- Have the responsibility but not doing the work
- Sin – it’s stressful. We know we’re not doing what we’re supposed to be doing.
Isaiah 40:30-31 -Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Proverbs 14:23 – In all work there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty.”