Join us each week as we tackle the issues and pain points facing many pastors and church leaders today – and how with Jesus actively and presently in charge, all the work will be fruitful.
We will read and look at Acts 1 and 2 to learn from the apostles and the first steps of the early Church.
Where is fruitful ministry birthed?
With so many aspects of ministry, so many needs, problems, as well as so many opportunities—where do we start as pastors and churches to launch ministry that enjoys lasting fruit and employs joyful servants for the glory of God?
In one of our revival meetings, Lou Sutera of the Canadian Revival Fellowship preached a message on the “Five Surprises of the Early Church.” He said it (1) started in Jerusalem (2) with a small group (3) became very large, very quickly (4) with Galileans who were regarded as lower class. His fifth surprise answers our question. “It was birthed out of a prayer meeting” which Jesus had instructed them to conduct until the Holy Spirit came.
“And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, which He said, you have heard from Me” (NKJV, Acts 1:4).
The group was a mixed group of 11 apostles, faithful and loyal women, Jesus’ mother Mary and His half-brothers who were brand new believers. Only 8 months earlier John had mentioned their unbelief (John 7:5).
Even though this group was in the minority, they had had the privilege of walking with the Lord, seeing His life first hand, having His instruction about life and godliness, believed in Him, witnessed His miracles and His resurrection, been instructed in the Scriptures, and been commissioned and authorized to make disciples of all nations! Why not launch ministry? Jesus knew they needed the Holy Spirit. So, they did as He said.
“These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the other of Jesus, and with His brothers (Acts 1:14).
They also obeyed the Scripture and prayed over the replacement of Judas. “You, O Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which of these two you have chosen to take part in the ministry and apostleship from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place” (Acts 1:25). Of course, we know that Matthias was chosen.
Finally, we see they were in the right place at the right time when the Spirit came.
“When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place” (Acts 2:1).
Here’s the point. Both ministry leadership and ministry enablement were revealed while they waited on the Lord in prayer. In our church we may know “what” is to be done, but the “when,” “how,” and “where” needs to come from the Lord. We may do the right thing, but in the wrong way, or at the wrong time, in the wrong strength. In prayer we can see God birth the plan He has ordained for us. Remember, their praying did not make Pentecost happen, but it put them in the place where God had chosen to work.
God’s direction for ministry is birthed when good ideas and great needs are bathed in united prayer. The pattern of praying in Jesus’ Name started at this time (John 14:13,14). How much easier and more enjoyable are our labors when we know we are being carried along and enabled by the Holy Spirit under Jesus’ authority?
Sometimes the best way to move ahead is to stop and pray until we know for sure what the first step is.
Birthing a ministry is a call to prayer. Man-centered ministry is a total waste of time, money, and reward (wood, hay, stubble). Need-centered ministry alone eventually will lack grace to go on. God-centered ministry will set us on course for the hope of glory.