Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Lessons on Effective Minsitry from a Picnic

The miracle of Jesus feeding the 5,000 men plus women and children is the only miracle of Jesus mentioned by all four Gospel writers. I believe from what we see in all four accounts that we can learn some very important principles about doing ministry.

Principle #1: Effective ministry begins by developing a heart of compassion. Though Jesus wanted some alone time with His disciples, He was met by a crowd. Instead of being annoyed or irritated, Jesus had compassion on them. Before you ever pass out the fish and the bread, you must first develop Christ’s heart of compassion (Matthew 14:13-16).

Principle #2: For effective ministry to take place, you must look past your reality and resources and look to Jesus. Philip could not look past his reality. Andrew could not look past his resources. Though Jesus was standing right in front of them, they both were blinded to His power because of their own reality and resources (John 6:5-9)

Principle #3: Jesus does ministry through people. Jesus could have rained down tilapia from the heavens or caused bread to grow out of the ground, but instead He told the disciples to feed the people (Matthew 4:16-17)

Principle #4: Effective ministry occurs when God gives to His church and His church then impacts the world. Jesus gave the bread to the disciples and the disciples gave the bread to the people. That is still how God works. He gives to His church so that the church can impact the world. God doesn’t bless us so that we can simply revel in His blessing but so that we can then bless others. God doesn’t save us solely for us to revel in His salvation but so that we can then share His salvation with others.

Principle #5: Before God can give us in effective ministry He often must break us first. Jesus took the bread, blessed the bread, broke the bread, then He gave the bread (Matthew 4:19). Why must He break us before He gives us? Because for effective ministry to occur we must realize that it is not about us, it is all about Him.

Principle #6: For effective ministry to take place, you must keep going back to Jesus. According to Mark 6:41, the bread multiplied in the hands of Jesus. Jesus “kept giving” the bread to the disciples. It appears that the disciple kept coming back to Jesus for more bread to pass out to the people. If we are going to have effective ministry, we must keep coming back to Jesus over and over and over and over again.

Principle #7: For effective ministry to take place we must start with what we have. We must give what we have to Jesus. We must obey what Jesus commands. And we must trust Jesus for the results.

Isn’t it amazing what we can learn about doing ministry today by studying a miracle that Jesus did so many years ago? That’s why I call this miracle a “Picnic with a Purpose”.

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