2017 marks eight years going on nine of me (Clay) being here in Honduras as a missionary!
Over my time here I have had the awesome experience of working with several different ministries. I have worked in many different capacities and functions, some formally and others loosely affiliated and in every one of them I learned something.
Something that has always puzzled me and frustrated me ever since I first spent an amazing, life changing summer traveling here though Central America with my good friend Nate Rosswog was the seemingly little change that is seen in the majority of missions and ministries.
Now this is by no means a judgement on anyone else or even my former self there are many ministries that do an amazing job at ministering, but honestly one gets to the point where you must ask yourself:
“Where is the Gospel transformation that the Bible teaches of and that we all long to see?”
Now of course there are tons of organisations that feed hungry people and that is great.. more even still that work with kids and that is great too… Folks that build houses for people and help communities through micro-finance and those are all awesome worthwhile projects, but in my estimation if that is all it is then it falls short of the whole person gospel that is taught in the word of God!
There are countless non Christian organisations that build houses, give out food, give away money, etc.. But why will they eventually fall short and not have the full impact and minister to the whole person?
They don’t minister to the whole person… We are Physical, Spiritual, emotional beings!
So then what are they missing?
The Gospel of Jesus Christ!
Romans 1:16(a) tells us “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes…
Any and all of these ministries, removed from the sharing of the Gospel message of salvation from sin are like chicken soup without all of the ingredients.
Now i know chicken stock can be good as a base for many different foods, but all by itself its not very appetising and honestly not useful if you’re hungry. It will warm you, make you feel full and might even give you some satisfaction, but in no time you are yearning to be fed again because by itself it offers no sustenance.
Of all of the things I have learned one of the most foundational things in ministry is position. It may sound weird but its something I have noticed.
What is the “Center” of what your ministry does?
Some people are the center of their own ministry… (everything you ever hear about their ministry seems to talk about only themselves)
Some have fame or praise at the center of their ministry… (what is posted online and send out to viewers doesn’t necessarily happen just the way its posted or sometimes at all)
Some have finances at the center of their ministry… (they seem to be called to whatever someone is willing to pay or provide resources for)
Some even have the ministry at the center of their ministry… (there is this mystical thing that never seems to be clearly defined but everything must give way to “the ministry”)
Knowing all of this we must ask ourselves.. Where should my focus be? What should i have at the “Center”?
Mark 12:30-31 says Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.
There it is… the Center/ primary focus of ministry should be God and sharing about him and after that the focus should be on others!
As a leader of a ministry one is constantly pushed into the limelight and constantly focused on, but our primary focus even in the middle of all of this is putting God into the spotlight and those around us as well.
Being a 6’2″ Gringo with a beard in a world of 5 foot something brown people, I can’t help but stand out. I couldn’t fit in if I tried!
But this influence, position, influence, whatever you want to call it must be used to put God forward and to empower others.
This being the center of our ministry we don’t go out and hold massive give aways… we instead put the resources into local pastors hands so that they can work and minister to their people and be empowered to share the gospel.
We don’t seek to fill up stadiums with people to hear our names… we seek to raise up strong pastors, preachers and teachers to go out into as many villages as possible to proclaim the name of Jesus to dying ears.
We welcome and even pray for resources, clothes, bibles, shoes, toys, solar panels, houses to be built, food to feed mouths, and gratefully participate in ministering to those in need, but we choose to do it though and alongside local pastors and people from the very communities that we are ministering to so that when its all said and done they don’t remember the Gringo, they remember the Saviour!
After all one day the Gringo will leave, but Jesus never will!