In September of 1985 a Baptist family shared with me for the first time in my life who Jesus was and why I needed him.
I prayed to receive Jesus as my Lord that day, but outwardly nothing seemed to change. I was still an alcoholic, along with everything else that I was. ( I still felt the same and I still had all of the same worldly cravings.)
Three days later as I walked by the table in the front room of my house, I saw my wife’s bible and I felt an inner voice or thought say, “You need to read that to find out what you’ve gotten yourself into!”
I had just gotten off work about midnight and my habit was to drink beer and watch television for about six hours until I could get sleepy. But this night I grabbed the bible and a six-pack of beer and started reading the New Testament. (For thirty days this became my new habit, grabbing my beer and reading the bible; I read the N/T twice through and nearly all of the Old Testament within that first thirty days.)
To keep this short, things started to change in me. (I’ll save my testimony for a later time.) I couldn’t read enough of the scriptures, I started reading between six to eight hours a day, every day.
As time went on, my hunger for reading the bible never diminish. The more I read the more I wanted to tell others about it also.
My Pastor watched me change and grow as this hunger for the scriptures started crowding out the poisons in my life.
The more I read, the more I felt I had to give out from what God was showing me in his word. To the point that I knew God had a calling on my life, but I didn’t know what that calling was.
Everything I put my hand to seemed to prosper; I felt a call to teach, so I taught; I felt a call to reach people as an Evangelist, so I became a witness wherever I was and taught others how to be a witness for Christ; and I even felt a call to Pastor or Shepard others, so through the scriptures I showed people how to be the best Christian they could be.
I kept looking for doors of opportunity to open for me to go out on my own and even start a Church. Then I finally saw my calling, it wasn’t quite what I had expected; but I had a peace that I finally knew what the Lord was training me for. In fact I had been doing it all along, I just hadn’t realized it.
I had so many gifts or talents working in me, I thought I was to be the Teacher, the Evangelist or even the Pastor.
The Lord showed me a man on a horse racing to be number one as he crossed the finish line; and he said this was my ministry; but there was one catch, I wasn’t the rider!
My ministry is much like this man riding a horse; thing is I’m not the rider, but rather I am the one who helps the rider to the finish line; I was to be the one who cups his hands together and gives a boost up, to help the rider onto the horse so he/she could finish their race.
My ministry wasn’t for me to cross the finish line; no, my ministry is to help others to cross the finish line and be number one.
Just because you are a good teacher, preacher, or worship leader doesn’t mean your called to go out on your own and start a new work!
In fact, I believe this is one of the tragedies in the Church today, rather than these extremely gifted people staying where they are, so they can help raise up more gifted and trained people. Their egos deceive them and they go out on their own. (After all, why should they put all of their time and talents into someone else’s ministry and they be left behind?)
Whether it is people’s egos or some other influences that causes them to go out on their own, in many cases it wasn’t by the leading of the Holy Spirit that moved them. Church splits, hard feelings, churches struggling to survive are just a few pieces of evidence of this fact.
Statistics show that 30% of all new churches or ministries started, fail within the first five years and the numbers still increase slightly as the years go on. Many reasons are given why they fail; lack of vision, money, moral decay, ect…. 70% survive, but just because you can start a church, doesn’t mean you were called to do so!
The goal isn’t to see who can start their own church or to see how many churches we can create. Our call is to teach and make disciples; and be a part of increasing the growth within the Body of Christ.
I’m not trying to discourage anyone who feels called to start a new ministry, I’m just stating maybe your ministry is to equip others to do the work of the ministry and allow them to win the race!
“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, (Eph. 4:11-12)”