The long weekend just gone has been an awesome one. In Margaret River for our youth leaders retreat, there were some great fellowship times, relationship building and fun. As always, there was also time for some serious reflection, getting away from the crowd of people, being still and quiet before God and just thinking.
On Saturday, a guest speaker came down and joined us and shared on leadership, and in particular youth leadership. But oh man, the relevance to all aspects of Christian service and leadership! This reflection post is a way for me to reflect personally on mission as per usual, but due to its relevance all around also to act as an encouragement for any who would choose to read.
19 For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. 20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. 21 To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. 23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.
~ 1 Corinthians 9:19-23
I love this verse from Corinthians; one of my favourite songs is written on it. This idea of becoming like the people to win them is certainly one which is on my mind frequently, coming from an affluent western culture with western ideals, beliefs and mindsets.
Three thoughts were shared on this:
- Serve who you want to win over. What do people need and how can you tailor your response towards the people you serve? Paul became a servant to all so that he could win all with the gospel of our saviour – so how can we do the same?
- It’s going to cost you something. It cost Paul his Jewish pride, his safety, he had to become weak, act like a Gentile to those outside of the law and eventually cost him his life. Service will cost us our time, our money or perhaps even our lives depending on where we go.
- Take a risk. Step out in faith and give things a shot. If we stay in our comfort zones, we are never going to step out into our communities or into the world and see lives impacted by the gospel.
God is not only about the destination but works through the journey, refining us and making us more like Jesus, extending Himself into every area of our lives. Whether we are leading in youth or kids or heading out into the mission field, God supplies everything we will ever need for the assignment given to us.
During our prayer time towards the end, I was given a word from God via our guest speaker (amongst other things) which was the word reproducible. My intention from here is to really unpack this – because to me, this word is extremely significant and not one our guest speaker would have known was significant.
As a scientist, reproducibility means that an experiment is able to be exactly replicated. It means that the results are going be almost exactly the same for anyone who goes to do the experiment. As someone serving in youth ministry and interested in overseas mission, this speaks volumes to me on the task of discipleship.
Especially when it comes to mission and as a westerner looking to head into an Asian context, this concept of reproducibility has been on my mind a lot. Would a church plant by a western church in an Asian context be reproducible? Would it be relevant? Would any discipleship undertaken be reproducible and those disciples going out and making more disciples?
Would any work I go out to a place like Cambodia and do under the guidance of God be self-replicating and reproducible? Would any church plant there be effective and would any ministry undertaken be reproducible?
These are the questions I have been asking myself for months – and I think I finally have the answer.
In reality, I’m the experiment and He’s the scientist. Any success to be had is entirely up to the work of the Spirit through me. Am I prepared to listen? Am I prepared to move as He does? Am I ready to walk in step with Jesus and do as He says? Am I prepared to be molded by Him into someone who’s faith is reproducible, a faith which works and is effective in another context?
With Paul, am I prepared to say that “I have made myself a servant to all that I might win more of them”?
This has always been the truth about the success of any ministry and any work under God: It’s never been up to me. It’s always been up to Him.