08 Dec A (Not-So) Secret to Being More Fruitful in Ministry
A (Not-So) Secret to Being More Fruitful in Ministry
As we have been studying the book of Colossians, we have been reminded about how passionately Paul was used by God to preach the gospel. Yet it is interesting that his final prayer request at the end of the book is “that God will open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned.”
As if he wasn’t already doing enough!
Throughout his life, Paul’s desire was that God would make him more and more fruitful in the ministry of the Word.
How often we wish more people would come to Christ through our witness. Like Paul, we want to be more fruitful. We want people to be saved. So does Jesus! I believe a simple, biblical tweak to our approach to ministry can help us see more fruit.
So, what is this “secret?”
It comes directly from the way Jesus trained His disciples to bear fruit. He told them, when they go, they should start by looking for a person of peace (Mt. 10:11-13; Luke 10:5-7).
We may be tempted to think that was something unique to Jesus’ day. After all, they were going to villages where they didn’t know any one, and they needed a place to stay. But life today seems far removed from those days…it doesn’t seem to apply to us now.
But we may be missing His point. What Jesus told them to look for was a person who was open, helpful, and could offer a base of operations that would help them in their mission. Put differently, He told them to look for someone who God had already prepared who would help them reach out to many people through their personal influence.
The New Testament shows us many examples of such people of peace. Paul met Lydia in Philippi, Jesus met the Samaritan woman at the well. We could add to these the Philippian jailer, the Centurion, Cornelius, the Ethiopian eunuch, even the demoniac in Mark 5. They were each different, but each was used by God to open doors to expand the gospel ministry.
In CCF Beyond we are seeing amazing fruit in some of the world’s most difficult mission fields. Tens of thousands of people who previously had never heard the name of Jesus are now passionate disciples. And the principle of finding a person of peace is central to the success of our ministry.
The first time we introduced our MC2 training in South Asia, we told the trainees to go into a section of the host city to do a prayer walk. The area had many temples and idols and was filled with a sense of darkness. They were told not to talk to anyone, just to pray.
The following day we sent them back to continue praying. But this time, if God gave them an opportunity, they could talk to those the Lord had prepared through their prayers the day before.
One trainee went out to pray, but when it started to drizzle he ducked under a tarp in front of a machine shop. As he was praying, the shop owner called to him. The trainee was surprised because, being from out of town, he didn’t know anyone in the city. But the shop owner continued to call him, and insisted that he knew him.
When the trainee explained that he was not the person he thought he was, the shop owner was intrigued. He asked what the trainee was doing there. The trainee shared that he was attending a seminar where they were learning to tell others about Jesus. The shop owner invited him into his house and gathered his whole family to hear the gospel over milk tea and biscuits. Even though they were from a different religious background, most of the family came to Christ that afternoon.
But the story didn’t end there. As they spoke further, they learned that they both grew up in adjacent villages many kilometers from the city. The shop owner asked him when he could come to their village to share the story of Christ to the whole village. There is now a house church in that village because of a “chance encounter” with a person of peace.
We encourage you to try out this principle. Pray. Ask God to raise up a person of peace that can help you reach more people for Christ. Then look around and talk with people about your faith in Christ. God may lead you to an office mate, a member of your family who is unusually open, a past classmate or new friend. Share Christ with them, then ask them to introduce you to others who might also want to know Jesus personally. Let them share with their loved ones and circle of influence too.
Watch as the Holy Spirit expands your ministry through the person of peace He leads you to!