Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Matters of Ministry

Having a right view of power, authority, and persuasion affects the way we interact with God and His church for sure. (See yesterday.) But it also has an incredible impact on how we understand the ministry God has given us. In every situation, we must ask ourselves:

Has God given me power, authority, or persuasion?

It is wounding to be confused here.

If you try to use power when you've been given authority or persuasion, people will not see you as a servant of God. They will see you as a chess grandmaster, and everyone around you will feel like nothing more than pieces of your game. They'll see it right away. They'll feel it to the depths of their beings. They may not know how to speak up or what to say, but it will eat away at them until they don't believe in their value any more, they don't see your value, and they don't even see value in God. If you try to use power when it has not been given, you turn everyone away. 

Power, given by God and used rightly, puts the pieces in place for something amazing to happen. But here's the thing - God never gives you power over people. Never. People are not pieces to be moved around. It's never your job to put people in their place, even into their place for God. That's not what people are for. So if God has given you power, it's administrative. Your ministry is the ministry of things for the benefit of people. Do not ever confuse the two.

If you try to use authority when you've been given power or persuasion, you come off as a bully. People will understand that you're trying to arrange things according to a certain desire, and they'll really want no part of it. No matter how convincing you are. No matter how forceful you are. People will feel like they're being pushed into something they don't buy right now. Because they won't see your vision. They won't see the master plan. They just see you trying to orchestrate everything and here, again, they feel like pieces of your game. You're not making them move, no; but you're making it very difficult for them not to move, even if they don't particularly want to. If you use authority when it has not been given, people will hear your voice, but not God's. 

Authority, given by God and used rightly, shares the vision of something amazing that's going to happen. It's see-through. It's not hiding anything, but laying the grand plan open for all to see. Authority is a ministry of both people and things. If God has given you authority, it's a balancing act. You're a vision-sharer. Your ministry is the ministry of people and things to the glory of God.

If you try to use persuasion when you've been given power or authority, people will question the value of your snake oil. They'll see right through it. They'll feel...cheap. And cheapened. They may go along with you, but it won't be because they want to; they'll feel duped. Like late-night TV and too many potato chips. Whatever you're selling won't seem nearly as good once it's in their hands, and they will resent you for it. They may even feel like God Himself is cheap, and they'll know you're slimy. If you try to use persuasion when it has not been given, everyone feels gross.

Persuasion, given by God and used rightly, helps persons to see the something amazing that they are. It is, at its core, a ministry of people. You're not trying to get anyone on board with anything. You're not trying to orchestrate anything. You're just trying to get persons to dream big, to hope big, to have bigger aspirations for themselves. You're trying to show them who they are when they're bigger than what they see in the mirror, by revealing to them God's very hope and love for them. If you've been given persuasion, walk softly. This ministry must always be about the people, about God's incredible something for them. It can never be about you. It can never directly be about Him. It's always, always, always about them.

It's so very important to know what God has given you so that you know how to use it. Have you been given power? Authority? Persuasion? Then it is for a good reason.

Use it rightly.

It's how you get to something amazing.  

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