The more I look at biblical examples of ministry, the more I see a simple yet profoundly flexible grassroots approach to ministry that compels me to focus on things that really matter.
All great people of God pray. If God is the one who changes hearts and communities, then asking God to help in missions is our utmost priority. We should bathe ministry in prayer. Let’s take every opportunity to pray for individuals and intercede for communities because prayer unleashes God’s power. It also moves lost people and God’s mission from our mind into our heart.
God is a relational God, and so ministry works through relationships. Mobilising near-culture believers to go and connect with unreached people is key. Face-to-face contact builds relationship, and living amongst the communities we are trying to reach maximizes this. Our daily life can shine Christ through word and action.
Jesus is the only hope for a broken and lost world. It’s clear that people must know of Jesus and what He has done for them to be saved (Acts 4:12). While our mission should seek to be holistic, we mustn’t forget to actually share the gospel. We share, and God transforms. So, let’s do our best to train and mobilise local believers to share the gospel amongst their own people and beyond, in ways that lead to multiplication. No fancy programmes—just wide sowing amongst remaining people groups in a way they understand.
Jesus commanded us to make disciples defined by active obedience (Matt. 28:18–20). As God’s Word is the primary way God reveals Himself and His purpose for us, all discipleship efforts should centre around the Bible. Believers need the opportunity to listen, discuss and understand God’s Word, and a way to respond with accountability. This helps move God’s word from the pages in our Bibles, to our heads, hearts and hands. The idea is not to teach new believers everything they need to know, but rather obedience to what they know. I believe the Discovery Bible Study (DBS) approach is effective, adaptable and flexible enough to suit most groups and cultures. It’s also easily reproducible leading to multiplication, because everyone can be commissioned and mobilised to minister. Our aim should be to train and mobilise Spirit-filled disciples motivated by love and equipped with the necessary skills.
I’ve learnt that gathering believers is key because communities are rarely transformed by an individual, and individuals struggle to shine without fellowship. Allow the Bible to define ‘church’ (Acts 2), and work to keep it indigenous, and locally ‘owned and operated.’ Where there are no believers, starting with a household of peace can be a bridge into the community. If they believe, these households already have numbers, influence and a place to gather for regular fellowship and discipleship, and therefore can quickly and naturally become Jesus’ communities.1 Our aim is to create loving vibrant communities with local leadership who gather to worship, pray, train, celebrate the Lord’s Supper and practice baptism, in order to obediently give, serve, and tell, so they will multiply and impact! Let’s build and help these communities be all they were made to be, and do all they were created for.
As a leader and follower I see that, without committed local leadership, the church will simply not fulfil God’s purpose and multiply. Let’s work to raise faithful leaders with God’s vision and heart who are rooted in His Word. Let’s spend extra time to help them understand key truths, and to pass on the authority given to us.2 God will provide the leaders, but we need to be prepared to walk with them.
Ben serves in South Asia along with his wife and five children. He has a passion for evangelism and discipleship and enjoys sport, riding motorbikes, trekking in the mountains and working with his hands. He also loves to spend time with his family and reading to build his faith.
1. See Luke 10:5–9, Cornelius – Acts 10:24, 33, Lydia - Acts 16:13–15, Jailer - Acts 16:33–34, Crispus - Acts 18:7–8.
2. Matt. 28:18-20, 2 Tim. 2:2.