Ministry, much like life, is all about connections. Joining others to accomplish a project or task helps us to accomplish more than we could accomplish on our own. It is important to seek out growing, honest, dynamic relationships with others in ministry in order to accomplish what God has placed on your heart. The reason we need each other in ministry is that ministry, by definition, involves a relationship. There are three levels of ministry relationship vital to build the Kingdom of Christ.
Models– These are people who have done an aspect of ministry that you desire to accomplish. No matter how creative or unique we believe we are, someone has already walked many of the roads we are about to walk. These people have encountered the trials, the success, and the enemy of ministry. A great model in my life is Dr. Harvey Webb. Dr. Webb is the Director of Missions of the Treasure Coast Baptist Association. Harvey has many years of staff and pastoral experience that he freely shares with a group of pastors that meets together each month. If we are going through it, he has already been there. Find someone who has done it and listen to their advice.
Partners– This level of ministry are the people you are doing ministry with. Scripture tells us that when Jesus sent his disciples to go and do ministry he sent them in pairs. Certainly there are other situations where God used individuals to accomplish his work, but those are rare. Partners in ministry keep us focused, encouraged, protected and energized. I am thankful God has blessed me with some great ministry partners. Some actually do the work of ministry with me. Some pray and encourage. Some support financially. But all play an important role. If you want to succeed in ministry, don’t try to do it alone. Paul Phipps is an incredible partner in ministry. Paul and I started One Life Adventure as a mission and ministry partnership between the church he pastors (Sent Life) and the one I pastors (LifeQuest). We have the same vision, the same passion and different gifts. This allows us to complement instead of compete. Where Paul sees a wall and pushes it over, my gifts lie in creating a strategy to get around the wall. This allows us to work closely together to accomplish something close to our hearts.
Recipients– Someone needs what you have to offer. The people you serve are not a commodity, but a creation. They were created by God with value, purpose and meaning. although they may need your help, they are not your “customers.” They are your mission. My personal philosophy is to find a focused group and invest. Locally I am developing a partnership with The Bridge Christian Outreach to share Christ with people who are in lost while meeting their physical needs. Globally I am focused on Northwest Haiti Christian Mission. This allows me to fulfill the command of Christ to go to the ends of the earth. This does not mean that I don’t serve anyone else, but it means I am focused and directed in where I put my energy.
God has placed in your life people who can be models, partners or recipients of ministry. The question now is are you willing to invest in those relationships that will help you accomplish what God has called, gifted, and equipped you to accomplish?
You may begin to notice some changes around the One Life Adventures blog. For instance our new logo represents the overall theme of One Life Adventures and not simply our trip to Haiti in 2012. If you haven’t noticed, here it is:
The overall principle for One Life Adventures is that EVERY life matters. God created all things, all people and he has charged us as the collective Body of Christ to care for those who are most in need of our help.
The beauty here is that One Life Adventures is not about one church body. Yes, I pastor LifeQuest Church and Paul pastors Sent Life Church. But the Bible tells us that we are all “one body” in Ephesians 4 and that is what we seek to model, live, and champion.
In the past two weeks, One Life Adventures has spread into some new territory with new ministry connections. We are partnering with The Bridge Christian Outreach in Jensen Beach to help feed, clothe and serve the vulnerable in our community. Pastor Jerry Herald of The Bridge is using the basic needs of life to share the eternal need for Jesus. That is a ministry we can all support.
This past week, Pastor Bob Barrett of Parkview Baptist Church in Ft. Pierce, FL contacted me to tell me that his church wants to help support Paul, Alana and me as we travel to Northwest Haiti Christian Mission to serve the staff. Their church was gong to give us $1,000.00 until they met to vote on it. Several of the people at the meeting had one negative comment: “Can we give more?” Praise God, this church is now a One Life Church!! They voted to give us $1,500.00 to help cover our expenses and needs.
I tell you all this not to embarrass or point out individuals for credit or glory, because they would not want that for themselves. I share this with you to help you see that every person, every church, every ministry can be part of One Life Adventures.
Praise be to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who has connected us through his one life so that we may share it with others.
I hate when stores start early promoting the next holiday. I was in Walmart last week on August 31 and there were already Halloween displays. While I love me some Reese’s and Candy Corn, all I could think was, “Give me a break!!!” Well, now I am jumping ship and passing up Halloween and Thanksgiving and going right to Christmas!!!
Let me explain: There are 48 special needs children who have a huge part of my heart. They live in the Miriam Center at Northwest Haiti Christian Mission. I have been there three times and I am headed back in one month to work alongside the staff of the mission for a week. My partner in crime with One Life Adventures, Paul Phipps, (the one who steals military trucks in Haiti!) and my wife Alana are headed with me to do a staff retreat at the mission. This is an awesome experience and privilege and we can’t wait to go. But it brings along another great opportunity.
Our vision is to carry in “Shoeboxes” for Christmas that will be given to all the kids at the Miriam Center. You may be familiar with Operation Christmas Child with Samaritan’s Purse. You pack a shoe box with small Christmas gifts and they send it to children all over the world. We have done this project for years and will be doing it again this year. But we want to also bless kids we know with shoeboxes.
So, we are getting a list of kids names, sizes, gift ideas and we will be making shoeboxes that we will deliver to the staff to be able to give them at Christmas. Here’s how you can help.
- If you would like to buy gifts for the kids, you can buy them and bring them to either LifeQuest or Sent Life by October 1. They need items like underwear, shirts, deodorant, soap, etc. And of course TOYS!!! It needs to all be items that will fit in a shoebox.
- If you can’t go buy the items and get them to us, you can always send a check and we will buy them on your behalf. Any amount will do and all money you send will go towards gifts for the kids.
- If you want to help in another way, you can send some money that will help cover extra baggage fees. We are carrying them in on our trip because you can’t simply mail a package to Northwest Haiti. So we will have extra fees as a result of this project.
I am excited to see what God will do with this endeavor. And I look forward to partnering with you to help a child have an awesome Christmas and to know that there is a God who loves them and people who see them as valuable and special.
If you have any questions, or would like more information, feel free to contact me at John@lifequestchurch.com.
I wish I was better at “Being Second.” I really mean I wish I wasn’t quite so self-centered. “I Am Second” is a multimedia, non-profit that encourages people to live their lives in service to God and to others. Using great stories and videos from real people dealing with real issues, the message of being second is one that needs to sink in more to our lives; at least it does to mine.
When I think of this concept I can’t help but think of Philippians 2:3 that says “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” That verse has always challenged me and caused me to look deeply into my life and realize just how selfish I am. I don’t like being uncomfortable. I don’t like being inconvenienced. I don’t like sacrificing my desires for others. Why? Because I am selfish. Maybe that should be my motto: “I Am Selfish.”
When it comes to serving others we can all be selfish. It is easy to serve sometimes. When it costs me nothing, I am willing to serve. When it makes me look good, I am willing to serve. When others take notice, I am willing to serve.
When I have to sacrifice, I am selfish. When I get no credit, I am selfish. When no one notices, I am selfish. But that is not the way of Christ. The next few verse of Philippians 2 tell us about the character of Jesus:
“Who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.”
Jesus gave up everything to become nothing. That is what it means to be Second!! I would love to say that I strive for that daily, but that is not true. But I can say I desire it in my heart. The issue then becomes, “How do I make my desires reality?” it’s a choice. A decision. An act of the will.
I AM SELFISH. I want to be SECOND.
I am so excited about all God is doing to move in the hearts and lives of others to serve with One Life Adventures. We are working hard making plans for our 2013 trip to Northwest Haiti Christian Mission. We are preparing dates, looking at ministries, and planning fund-raisers. I am also working to include other churches as part of this great mission effort.
One Life Adventures will be meeting on Thursday night at 7:00 at LifeQuest Church in Palm City for an information meeting about our 2013 plans. We would love for you to join us and help us get started on an amazing year of ministry and preparation.
Please join us Thursday for this meeting. If you can’t make it but would like more information, please contact John Harvey at John@lifequestchurch.com for more information.