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Thursday
Oct302014

Those With Us on the Journey

Rev. Jeremy Selvidge (‘10)
Lead Pastor, Mount Pleasant (MI) Church of the Nazarene
NTS Alumni Council, ONU Region Member-at-Large

As I was reading through Philippians recently I was impressed by something in Paul’s writings. Paul was not alone. Paul had people who worked with him on the journey. In chapter two he mentions Epaphroditus, “my brother, co-worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs.” This wasn’t the only one who fit this job description. Paul couldn’t do it alone. There was no way that he could plant the churches he did, care for them while he was off planting others, deal with various conflicts in the churches, and care for his personal needs. Paul needed help. It appears that there was a culture in these churches of sharing the responsibilities and burdens of the Kingdom with their pastor.

I have prayed a prayer throughout my ministry. It is a prayer that has evolved over the years but it sounds something like this … “Lord, send to me those who will encourage me on the journey and labor with me in the mission.” This is a prayer that we all need to learn how to pray.

We must first recognize that God did not call us to carry the burden of ministry by ourselves. It is too monumental of a task for anyone to think that they have what it takes to go it alone. I think that prides rears its ugly head somewhere in there.

Second, we need to realize that the mission that we have been called to, we were called to by God. God is mobilizing the resources before we ever think about trying to do that ourselves. Jesus is clear that we have to get in the habit of asking, and doing so boldly. We need to ask for the things that God has already set in motion for the purposes of the Kingdom’s advance.

Third, we need to understand that the potential of ministry is directly proportionate to the people on the team. I don’t know about you but there have been times when I have felt that the resources weren’t enough. I felt like I was MacGyver who was skilled at getting out of sticky situations with his trusty pocket knife and a paper clip. I recently heard someone say, “You have every resource in your church that is needed to fulfill God’s call on that Church-to make disciples starting right where they are and extending to the ends of the earth.” I think that this is true. But it means that we have to consider that maybe we need to reevaluate what it is we are doing. No two churches have the same resources but one thing is true … you are not alone in the mission of God.

We need to pray “Lord, send to me those who will encourage me on the journey and labor with me in the mission.” And then we need to open our eyes and heart to the ways that God is answering that prayer. Stop thinking that you need to figure out how to do everything yourself. Learn to say no to the long list of things that people want you to do and remember that you answer, first, to God. Be encouraged that God has surrounded you with great people who will be your Epaphroditus. Learn to release ministry to them and don’t be intimidated by letting someone else do something in a way that you might not have considered.

Since I started praying that prayer and its close relatives, I have begun seeing people in a new way. One of the greatest things that I love hearing from people is “God wants me here. I’m not sure why but I know God wants me here.” Pray on my friends and remember that you are not alone on this mission of God.

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