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Is Wanting a Bigger Ministry the Right Perspective?

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I sometimes talk to Christians who feel discouraged at their relatively small ministries compared to bigger organizations and churches that always seem to publish NYT bestselling books and sell out stadiums for their conferences. They look at that “success” and explain, “I wish I had a bigger ministry!”

I know how they feel.

I sometimes have those same discouraging thoughts. However, when they come, I quickly remind myself that it’s the wrong perspective to take on ministry. That way of looking at things is far too individualistic. To get a healthier perspective, I have to remember the Body.

What do I mean?

Remember what Paul said:

Now as we have many parts in one body, and all the parts do not have the same function, in the same way we who are many are one body in Christ and individually members of one another (Rom 12:4-5).

Those verses are theological dynamite. Here are two takeaways: first, every believer is a member of the same body—the Body of Christ; and second, that means we’re members of one another. When you remember those two facts about Body life, you’ll see the foolishness of being discouraged at the so-called “smallness” of your ministry.

Imagine a left nostril. Should it worry about having a more significant role in the body? Should it want more power? A bigger role? Should it see itself in competition with the baby toe, the eyebrows, or the lungs?

Of course not!

We all know that different body parts function together for the common good of the whole. We wouldn't think of body parts as competing with each other. And we wouldn't think that one part needs a more prominent role than other organs. Thinking that way involves having a distorted view of the human body. If that’s your perspective, maybe you don’t quite understand what a body is. 

Given than, can you see that you’re making a similar mistake if you envy the size of someone else’s ministry? That means taking a distorted view of the Body of Christ.

Think of Tony Evans. He has a huge ministry. He pastors a mega-church, has multiple best-selling books, is on hundreds of radio stations, and has an audience of millions. You might wish you had a ministry as he does. The good news is you do! In fact, his ministry is your ministry. How so?

Think about it through the lens of the Body of Christ.

Tony Evans is functioning as one member of the Body. So are you. Yes, Dr. Evans has his own registered non-profit, website, payroll, buildings, and so on, but ultimately, he’s functioning as a member of the Body, just as you are. And as fellow members of the Body, you’re members of one another. Do you see what that means? It means that his ministry is your ministry, and your ministry is his ministry because you’re both ministering in the one Body of Christ. In other words, there’s no such thing as having a bigger or smaller ministry as far as the perspective of the Body of Christ is concerned because there is only one ministry to have: that of the Body. If Tony Evans is winning people to Christ, that’s a win for you because it’s a win for the Body. And if you teach a Bible study where a dozen believers are edified, that’s a win for Tony Evans because it’s a win for the Body.

Do you see how taking the perspective of the Body changes things?

Let me add a final word of clarification. Don’t misunderstand me as saying that it’s wrong to have a healthy desire to be more effective for the Lord and to reach more people with the gospel. I’m not discouraging that. I want that, too. I want everyone to know about the amazing news of God’s free grace. I’m grateful for FGI’s influence, but there are billions more people to reach. By all means, let’s try to reach them. Rather, I’m discouraging you from becoming frustrated by taking an individualistic perspective on your ministry and forgetting that you and every authentic ministry belong to the Body of Christ.

Whenever you feel like a left nostril, remember that you belong to the Body of Christ, and that’s nothing to sniff at.

Send your questions or comments to Shawn.

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