The Dangerous Pitfall of Ministry: Approaching God’s Work with Man’s Strength
To serve on staff with Campus Outreach Greenville is both a privilege and an honor. This is without objection. Without overstating the glaringly obvious, we as staff have the joy of joining the mission of God as a vocation, with our primary end being the glory of God. That glory is manifested as we pursue building laborers on the campus for the world.
Anyone who has engaged in ministry knows there are subtle pitfalls one can fall into while on the trek to proclaim God’s fame. There are countless pitfalls in ministry, but the pitfall I’m most susceptible to falling into is approaching the glorious, eternal work of God with my own strength. Yes, my end in ministry is to glorify God, but not only that, the means by which I attain that end should glorify Him as well.
As I said earlier, I desire to build laborers for God’s glory. A necessary step in this endeavor is that students who previously did not know Jesus would come to saving faith in Him. Students who don’t know Jesus need to hear the words of Christ (Romans 10.17) if they are to respond in faith. Here, the subtle pitfall in my life is evident. I know that faith comes through hearing, this is a glorious truth found in Scripture, which is like a hammer that can break the hardest of hearts. Sadly, I constantly attempt to swing that mammoth hammer with my own power.
For instance, I use a variety of means to get students near the Word so that they can hear the gospel message--bible studies, talks, and one on ones. Unfortunately, I end up focusing more on my preparation rather than prayer. I focus more on my strategy rather than the steadfast power of the Spirit of God. I focus more on my clear communication rather than clinging to God’s promises to save men.
In no way am I reducing the importance of preparation, strategy, or communication, but rather, I want to raise the importance of prayer, the Spirit, and clinging to promises in Scripture. For in so doing, we allow the means to glorify God. Scripture tells us that men outside of Christ are blind (2 Corinthians 4) and dead (Ephesians 2). No amount of preparation can give men sight or make them alive, only the power of the Spirit and the grace of God. In believing this, and running to God for Him to change men, I forsake glorifying myself by what I can do, and instead glorify God in His accomplishment of the impossible.