Last year I started a ministry to internationals at our church. We live in the suburbs of Washington D.C. where the nations have gathered in our backyard. I felt unqualified to start this ministry because I still had two children in diapers and felt overwhelmed most days staying at home with them.
However, that didn’t matter. What mattered was that God was putting a burden on my heart to reach the nations and I had to be obedient.
My first task in starting this ministry was to build a team. I was at a loss… there were awesome people at our church, but they all seemed busy with their lives. How could I ask for a weekly commitment from them when they already seemed tapped out with family and work responsibilities?
Even though I lacked confidence about building this team, God was willing to teach me.
First, I had to become personally convinced that this ministry was worth the inconvenience.
I had to face it: This ministry was going to cost us something. I was asking for a commitment of a few hours a week so that international students could practice their English and make new friends. Students would need rides because many didn’t have cars. I had to become convinced that this was worth my time and effort and convince others that it was worth theirs too. I couldn’t shrink from the fact that it would be inconvenient. I needed to remind people of all Christ had done for us, compelling us to reach out in love.
Second, I couldn’t expect for others to care about it as much as I did (at first).
There weren’t myriads of people at our church who cared about ministering to internationals. Instead of letting this frustrate me, my job was to lead them to care. I’m thankful for the Holy Spirit, because He has taken some of our reluctant team members and really given them a heart for internationals. This takes time. This takes patience. This takes prayer. This takes leading with example.
Lastly, I couldn’t lead effectively if I wasn’t serving sacrificially.
There’s a difference between knowing what needs to be done and showing what needs to be done. Leadership is simply being a servant, not an opportunity to tout self-importance. Jesus is our ultimate example of this and in Matthew 20:26-28 he teaches us, “But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Building a team has not been easy. I wouldn’t even say we’re there yet. We have a long way to go in fact. But, I believe it’s worth the effort. I believe God will use my meager efforts in between wiping butts and kissing foreheads to grow a ministry to the nations in our backyard.
What about you? Have you had trouble buiding a team? What is the goal of your team? Is it to bring the nations to Christ? If not, why not?
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:19-20)
Published February 10, 2016