Ordinary Discipleship Training

When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.  -Acts 4:13

Our passion is to make disciple making disciples of Christ.

 

Near Death Experience

      I’ve never had an actual near death experience and I don’t know anyone who has.  I’ve heard stories of that happening, of lights at the end of the tunnels, of seeing deceased loved ones, and other things of the supernatural kind.

      Recently, I had a near death experience when it came to my ministry.  Here’s what I mean.  What do people usually do after these near death experiences?  They evaluate their lives and make changes “for the better”, whatever that may look like for them.  For me, this happened when I began prepping and praying over a new year of ministry.  God showed me some things; I realized that it may eventually lead me in some new directions in life and ministry.

      Now, let me clarify something, time is relative and God’s time is even more so.  I’m not going to say that I’ve figured out God’s timing for me or what may be next for my life.  That’s just a little disclaimer to the “eventually” I mentioned before.

      As I processed all of this, I was reminded of James 4, that life is “a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”  What that means to me is that even if I do what I’m doing now for the rest of my life, I’m almost done.  Once I realized that, I began to evaluate my ministry and how I do life.

      You see, if my ministry, if what I do is about me, it’s meaningless. More importantly, it will die with me or will fade if I do leave.  If what I do is for God’s glory, like I claim it is, I have to be about discipleship.  I need to know that a ministry I’ve followed Christ to build and be a part of is going to be in good hands the day I’m called to move on.  I need to be very intentional about pouring all I am and all I have into others; making them disciples!

      In a corporate or business world you give yourself job security by working yourself into a leverage position where no one else could do what you do, therefore making yourself a necessity.  The honest truth is we see this in the ministry world as well.  If you don’t believe me look back at ministries that have folded or declined when a key person or leader has left.  Look at pastors that have worked to gobble up power using the pulpit for leverage for something other than God.

      It’s a tough place to be when you feel replaceable or unneeded.  It’s not pleasant to say the least.  What I have discovered in giving my authority to those I lead is they develop desperately needed leadership skills in a world of indecisiveness and passivity.  Also, I get to do ministry.  Like real, hands on, spending quality time with people ministry.  I don’t have to worry about cutting a conversation short because I need to do a welcome or announcements.  I don’t have to worry if I’m getting through to students in my teaching because I know I have bible study leaders that I’ve worked with and supported who are going to get into real discussion with honest answers on what I just finished teaching.  I get to do ministry!

      Here’s what I want for you.  Have a near death experience.  Realize your life is a vapor and what you have left calls for intentionality.  Ask yourself some tough questions.  Think about what would happen to a ministry you’ve given so much to if God were to move you elsewhere.  Would it die out?  Would it thrive?  Would it hold on until they found your replacement or is your replacement right in front of you?