The simplest way to bring about change, as I mentioned in Chapter 3, is to start with yourself. If I demand or expect change from others but refuse to do so myself, I will never see any difference. I must take the initiative and lead by my example. This works in a family, in an organization and in a society.
Let us take a look at some practical, “hands-on” ways through which we can maintain and renew the freshness and life within the ministry where we serve.
Radical Living Restored through Abandonment
Genuine revival comes from a personal, intimate encounter with the living God, not with the rules and regulations of an organization. How can I be a servant? When I know the one who is a servant of all. How can I be broken? When I meet with the one who was broken for the world. To be radical means you must be inwardly motivated.
Take time to think deeply, to pray sincerely and ask the Lord to renew, within your own heart, the vision of your ministry. Translate that vision into your specific area within the ministry. Search for unique ways that you can share and spread this vision within your own personal sphere of influence—your supporters and supporting churches, members of your local church, even believers you meet through your everyday activities. One longtime, faithful volunteer at our ministry originally started serving here because of her contact with a staff member in the laundry room of their apartment complex. The possibilities are virtually unlimited, but you can only access them when you have allowed the Lord to do the work in your heart.
Regularly review your mission statement†, your vision†† and your core values†††. Talk with leaders and others who have been with your ministry a while to learn what it was like in the early days.
To be radical, you must deliberately choose to do things that would help develop and cultivate your heart. It will not happen on its own. Take stock of your spiritual condition; face yourself honestly. Take responsibility for your own spiritual growth—don’t shift the blame to others or to circumstances for your failures, shortcomings or stagnancy.† A mission statement outlines the direction for your life/organization—the compass that keeps you going in the right direction. †† The vision fulfills the mission statement with the actual steps—the map you use to get to your destination. ††† The core values are the principles and standards with which you fulfill your mission statement.
Transformational Living Restored through Decontrol
Think of all the people within your church or organization with whom you have influence—large or small, directly or indirectly. It may be an “official” position in which you have responsibility over them, or it may simply be that you share a bond because you live nearby, share similar tastes or have children who play together. Whatever the case, you can begin to think about those people: their potential, their giftings, their backgrounds, their testimonies, their character and their dreams. As you begin to do so, you will find within yourself a growing appreciation for each one of their lives. Begin to pray specifically for each individual.
The life of Jesus, in its finest manifestation, was all about caring for others. “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve” (Mark 10:45). Let us be continually thinking of how we can bless and encourage others. Those who are in responsible positions within the organization need to be considering how to continually build up and “recharge” those who are under their authority and how to develop each one based on his or her abilities and giftings. What matters is not so much money, housing or things. People matter most.
Motivate others, not through power and heavy-handed techniques or through benefits, false hopes or manipulations but through love, grace, encouragement, approval, forgiveness, correction, challenge and integrity—and in some cases prayer and fasting. Do what it takes, as the Lord gives you the grace, to work toward really becoming one. We are not one just because we work together—it is because we genuinely care for one another.
I can testify that nearly every miracle that happened in our ministry came about not just as a result of my efforts or prayers, but also because a few individuals prayed, fasted, believed and stuck together. It had nothing to do with position or power. God’s only method for getting things done, moving His kingdom forward and doing miracles is men and women. The work comes only secondary to the people who do the work.
Relational Living Restored through Empowerment
When you have influence over someone, whether it is a position of authority or simply the advantage of experience through having served a longer period of time in your ministry, you should never use that influence to get things done or make things happen. Force, veiled threats or intimidation, even when spiritually disguised, are never a substitute for love, mercy and grace.
Make sure that you place a higher value, above anything else, on a person’s inner reality, character, humility, and brokenness and on a heart that seeks no glory or ambition. Acts 6 tells how the Lord directed the apostles to select men for service.
Ask the Lord to show you a handful of people within that circle of influence, one or two perhaps, in whom you can invest your life and share your vision. If you have responsibility over them at the office, begin to train them to do your job. Be open and honest with them, even at the risk of rejection or unresponsiveness.
I would highly recommend that you regularly read—perhaps every three months or so—Gayle Erwin’s The Jesus Style1 and study through the book Humility2 by Andrew Murray.
The disciples stuck with Jesus for no other reason than love. And it is crucial that we understand this as we relate to one another.
1Erwin, The Jesus Style.
2Andrew Murray, Humility (Pittsburgh, PA: Whitaker House, 1982).
© 2003 by KP Yohannan, the president and founder of Gospel for Asia. It was written with the intention of encouraging and edifying the Body of Christ. To learn more about Gospel for Asia or to receive additional free resources, visit Gospel for Asia’s website.