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When we think of Paul, we often think of a spiritual giant, going through the Roman world planting churches, routing the philosophers in Athens, writing the most profound letters ever written, getting bloodied by stones, whipped, flogged, and shipwrecked–all by himself. A one man superhero.

Paul didn’t accomplish all this or endure all this by himself. He constantly had people around him: co-laborers, associates, apprentices, friends, partners in the gospel. There’s a reason that when Jesus sent out the disciples he sent them out in pairs. You are not meant to do gospel work by yourself.

If you want a ministry to be short lived, start it by yourself, do it by yourself, and share authority with no one but yourself. If you’re really gifted and dynamic, you’ll see something grow up for a time. People will flock to it because you have a lot of gifts, but then when you’re done it will be done. No team, no partners, no investment in future leaders, no future ministry.

How do you do ministry? Paul says in 2 Timothy 2:2, “What you have heard from me in the presence of many others entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”

A huge part of ministry is constantly training up others, releasing others, and empowering others, so that they can replicate what you do or replace you when you’re done. How are we doing?

 


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10 thoughts on “Avoiding Short Lived Ministry”

  1. After 30 years of leadership in one Church, I’ve learned a few important lessons about longevity. It’s been my privilege to help a Church grow from 10 to 600 hundred people and from one small property with a little old building to two properties with many buildings. More importantly, as you emphasized, I’ve had the privilege to develop and work with many pastoral/elder staff for many years.

    The blessings during these years have been amazing and the trials have been daunting. I’ve always felt that the size of the calling was larger than the man responding to it.

    The weight of Paul’s question is always felt: “Who is equal to such a task?” (II Corinthians 2:16). God has been faithful and when needed most, He leads us beside still waters. But surviving and thriving requires tenacious commitment to key principles. I’ve outlined four key principles framing each one as a question — (If interested, http://thinkpoint.wordpress.com/2011/09/29/four-questions-leaders-must-ask/)

  2. Alien & Stranger says:

    I have seen a number of churches planted, only to fold a few years later. It’s hard to say why they “failed”, but while the leaders had some good people to help them, the churches just never took off. I put “failed” in inverted commas, because I don’t think any of them failed completely, since I know there were lives that were touched and changed for eternity during the time those churches were operational, so perhaps we are too quick to write them off as failures. I’ve also seen other church plants take off and thrive, some assisted by having a fairly large team of helpers from the start, while others took a number of years to grow.
    As an individual involved in school ministries outside of the church to which I belong, I know very definitely that these are God’s calling for me, at least for this season. However, I have had a lonely row to hoe, because for several years now I’ve had to do it on my own. I have prayed about it, and the door for ministry has remained wide open. The problem has been that the demographics of our suburb and surrounding areas have changed, so that most mothers now have to work and they lack transport. Paul the apostle also experienced being left to continue on his own. The Christian walk involves perseverance, and while it can be disheartening not having any helpers, the issue is whether one will persevere in what the Lord has called one to do.

  3. Alien & Stranger says:

    P.S. I have also witnessed some well-established churches, that have been in existence for many years, go into decline or even close when the pastor has moved on elsewhere, or has passed on (usually the latter). These are pastors who built towards themselves, resulting in a power-clique centred around the pastor. Churches that have a healthy transition in leadership, tend to have leaders who build away from themselves, who operate as a team which identifies, prepares and raises up people for various leadership roles, according to the abilities and giftings in which they are often already operating. Good leaders do not leave a vacuum when they move or pass on.

  4. You need to have a Vision (Matthew 28), be a team player (Jesus had a team of 12 with him), you must work hard with the talents and gifts you and the team received from the Holy Spirit, you must have humility, be resilient in what you believe, be consistent and persistent. Set up new challenges and most of all have fun ion your relationship with Jesus.

  5. Selma says:

    Toma en cuennta que también esta táctica agotará la batería rápidamente.

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Kevin DeYoung


Kevin DeYoung is senior pastor of University Reformed Church (PCA) in East Lansing, Michigan, near Michigan State University. He and his wife Trisha have six young children. You can follow him on Twitter.

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