How to Reach a Lost Generation 7: Ministry By Them Rather than Ministry to Them

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11 It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12 to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” – Ephesians 4:11-16

Paul said that God gifted his people in various ways and that when we use those gifts we accomplish what God has set before us, the church is built up into unity and we become mature. The problem with many ministries is that we minister to people rather than equip people so they can do ministry themselves. If we spoon feed people and do everything for them we cannot expect to grow mature disciples. Leaders aren’t developed on accident. Future church leaders are being born today but are we nurturing the gifts that God has given them?

One component of our 20s & 30s ministry is the handing off of responsibility. Instead of me doing everything for them, they are asked to do ministry, take on responsibility, and engage in the mission of God. If we are going to reach this generation it is important that they see visible and obvious inroads into engaging in the mission of God in the congregation that they can readily become a part of.

Equipping people to serve in God’s mission is not some catchy tool to get people in the door. This is what God has told us to do. If we do it we will accomplish God’s will, grow in unity and become mature. If we refuse to do it then we can’t expect God to fulfill His side of the deal.

Here is an older post outlining some specifics.

0 Responses

  1. Absolutely! Well said.

    One of the most difficult steps in this process if to allow the young leaders to make mistakes and fail. More experienced leaders may know how to solve the problem, but if they constantly come to the rescue of the young leaders they won’t develop the confidence and skills necessary. Ultimately, helicopter mentoring is not empowering.

    I would add to this that young non-Christians want a place to do ministry. A great way to connect with people in the community is to offer them a chance to serve alongside already-Christians. Let them see, first-hand, what it looks like to feed the hungry, clothe the poor or visit the imprisoned. There’s no scriptural requirement that only believers can do ministry.

  2. An actual statement from someone in a Baptist church, when shown something from scripture:

    “I am so glad that we have a pastor to tell us what the bible means so we don’t have to figure these things out…”

    It seems to me that if you were the captain of a small company in an army, that it would be your responsibility to teach every member of your squad, not how to sit and admire how you swing around a shiny sword, but how to use it effectively, to block, parry, and strike. Even support personal who plan to stay behind the lines should have some basic knowledge and experience.

    Additionally, if we are all responsible to Christ (rather than to a creed or a human leader) it is imperative that we “prove all things” and study the scriptures daily as Bereans to see whether these things be so. Rather, I see church cultures that never challenge anything they hear, that would rather hire someone to take away their responsibility from them.

    In these cases the people have willingly disarmed themselves, and the pastor may be no better, because who is going to challenge him? It is easy to appear as master of the sword when you’re holding the only sword (and if these analogies seem to invoke “might makes right” then I also reply that in this scenario it is appropriate to add, “May God decide the victor.”)

    While I agree that we may be given gifts in various ways, are we not also told to earnestly desire the best gifts? I do agree that leaders should be equipping their people, so this is not actually a criticism, but my style of agreement.

  3. Amen! Amen! Amen! (Three repetitions is the magic, ultimate AMEN, isn’t it?)

    Until we learn again how to be servants instead of expecting others to serve us, we will never make a real difference in the world. Even then, it will seldom be the big things that we accomplish. Rather, it will be little by little that God uses our small things to work His great purposes.

    But I am learning that when we are faithful in little things, God gives us bigger things to do. Witness what is happening with EEM right now in Ukraine, especially. By being faithful in the small opportunities we have had, we are receiving larger invitations – possibly even to the point of being able to put Bibles into all of the schools of that nation of 45 million souls. With the successful completion of the projects to be funded by our Million Dollar Sunday this month, we will have already put Bibles into schools of more than 18% of the total population. And more regions are seriously considering asking us for Bibles!

    How do we do it? Go here to read how it is happening – and why we believe that in the new few years the remaining schools of that nation will have asked for Bibles for their schools. Why do they want them? To teach their children that there is a God, the Bible is His Word and Jesus is His Son – to give them a basis on which to build their lives with a Christian world-view and ethics. They do not want the church dogmas that have divided churches for the past 1,000 years or more. They just want the Bible, the pure word of God.

    See more about what we are doing at

  4. Couldn’t have said it better, Matt.

    The process of discipling believers to serve and to lead has been largely a lost art and needs to be restored.

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