|Posted on March 15, 2018 at 7:55 AM|
GETHSEMANE PRAYER MINISTRIES INT’L.
JOSHUA GENERATION LEADERSHIP TRAINING
TUTORIAL TEACHING PAPER 2
By Rev. Moses Aransiola, PhD.
PERSONS AND PILLARS OF MINISTERIAL SUCCESS
Success in ministry is relative and has several definitions, depending on the purpose and mandate of God for the ministry or minister. Ministry by its biblical definition is service rendered by men as directed and enabled by God unto other men. This means that manpower is a key factor of ministry. By manpower, we mean the minister himself or herself and the other supporting personnel.
Biblically and historically, the quality of human personnel involved in a ministry, business, or organization goes a long way in determining the effectiveness and the success of the venture. The passage below illustrates the foregoing deduction as we shall see in this discourse.
1. MIGHTY MEN AND MIGHTY ACTS
These be the names of the mighty men whom David had: The Tachmonite that sat in the seat, chief among the captains; the same wasAdino the Eznite: he lift up his spear against eight hundred, whom he slew at one time. And after him wasEleazar the son of Dodo the Ahohite, one of the three mighty men with David, when they defied the Philistines that were there gathered together to battle, and the men of Israel were gone away: He arose, and smote the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand clave unto the sword: and the LORD wrought a great victory that day; and the people returned after him only to spoil. And after him wasShammah the son of Agee the Hararite. And the Philistines were gathered together into a troop, where was a piece of ground full of lentiles: and the people fled from the Philistines. But he stood in the midst of the ground, and defended it, and slew the Philistines: and the LORD wrought a great victory (2Sam. 23:8-12).
A small group of soldiers is called a platoon or a detchment, but when they number more than hundreds they are referred to as an army. An army is a group of well disciplined people trained in the art of war. If soldiers are trained to fight, then we should expect them to fight when war breaks out.In the passage of scripture above, we see many well trained Israelite soldiers fleeing the battle field for reasons that can only be imagined. We also see one of the soldiers, by name Adino the Eznite who slew eight hundred enemy troops at one time. We see also Eleazar the son of Dodo who covered up for the fleeing Israeli soldiers. He fought the Philistines until his hands could no longer let go of the sword. The passage also mentioned Shammah the son of Agee who defended a portion of ground when other soldiers fled the battle scene.
2. DEFENDERS AND DESERTERS
Summing it up, this army was made up two categories of soldiers: the defenders and the deserters. As seen in the passage, the defenders were largely outnumbered and overburdened by the deserters. The few defenders in the army were made through courage, loyalty and selflessness to cover up for the non-availability or threachery of the deserters. This is why Adino the Eznite would have to kill eight hundred enemy soldiers alone. This would not have been necessary if the other soldiers had fought gallantly along with him. But they fled the battle field and left him alone to do the job. A corporate responsibility became the job of a few soldiers due to the desertion of other soldiers.
One would think the soldiers who defended Israel when others fled were men of special military strength. This may be true. However, we see God fighting along with these few men to give Israel a great victory. Apart from what we might consider as special military skills, God also fought with these few defenders based on the Abrahamic covenant of their fathers. God did not allow the few defenders to die in battle; He defended them fought with and gave them victory because of His covenant.
3. RETURNEES FOR THE BOOTY
Another interesting thing we see in our passage of discourse is the return of the deserting soldiers to the battle field share the booty. Success is sweet and everyone wants to befriend and have a taste of it. They were not ashamed of their desertion and lack of courage and patriotism; they came out of their hideouts almost immediately after the battle was over and began to strip dead enemy soldiers of their belongings. Here were cowardly men who deserted their comrades on the battlefield only to return after the battle to share the booty.
This scenario is common in different organizations, institutions, bodies and even churches where the few who carry the full weight of the organizational responsibilities are made to share benefits with the indolent and excuse makers. In fact, it is this indolent ones that shamelessly fight for equality in benefits sharing. They are often the ones to initiate industrial action for equitable benefit sharing. They are exploiters and organizational parasites.
4. A DEFENDER’S ATTITUDE
Oftentimes, defenders are those who have made up their minds to make a difference. They are people who stake their comfort, health, safety, and even their life to defend their organization or nation. They do not allow the demoralizing actions of others to affect their morale. They are often indifferent to what others are doing; their service temperatures do not depend on the temperatures of others. These faithful ones do not depend on others to function.
5. PILLARS OF SUCCESS
When other soldiers deserted the battlefield, the trio of Adino the Eznite, Eleazer the son of Dodo, and Shammah stood their ground, fought valiantly, and God gave them a great victory. These men thereby became the pillars of Israel’s victory or success in the battles. We similarly have men, ministers, workers, faithful staff in different ministries and churches that can be correctly referred to as pillars of support and success.
6. A PARASITIC SPIRIT
The Bible calls these men of David, mighty men because of their mighty deeds. They were not called mighty men for nothing. Sadly, many spiritual and economic parasites who have contributed little or nothing to a church or an organization want to be recognized with big positions and big titles. They want to be addressed as mighty men in our ministries and churches when they have no record of mighty deeds. No one bears the appellation ‘mighty man’ without the corresponding mighty deeds.
7. MIGHTY MEN, MIGHTY SUFFERING
Unfaithful and cowardly soldiers abound in every army. As a pastor, on Sunday morning, you may come to church expecting twenty workers to join you in the pre-service meeting. Do not be surprise or dejected if only five shows up. Do not allow the poor turnout of worker to dampen your morale. This is what makes you a strong man of God or a mighty pastor. Most men of God are made in the furnace of fire. If you lead a prayer group and five people showed up for prayer out of sixty, you should run the meeting as if all were present. You must never allow the absence of the majority to affect your morale and commitment. This is what makes you a mighty prayer leader.
Many years ago, I was invited by a pastor to run a Prayer School in His church in one of the popular cities of Texas, USA. When I arrived with my wife on the first day of the school, we were only five in attendance. Even the pastor was nowhere to be found. He only sent someone to open the auditorium for us. As far as he was concerned, the meeting was not likely to be a success. So he and his church officers and workers sat at home. They did not show up for their own program. So we sang the choruses and clapped our hands as there was no instrumentalist on ground. I then led the prayers and ministered the word as I would in an auditorium filled with a thousand people. By the following day, our attendance grew to about twenty. By the third day, attendance had climbed to about three hundred, as news had gone around about what God was doing in the meeting. On the second to the last day of the meeting when the pastor himself eventually showed up, the auditorium was filled to capacity and canopies had to be brought to accommodate the huge crowd outside the auditorium. At the end of the meeting, one of those who attended on the first day said he was watching to see if my morale or passion would be dampened by the very poor attendance. According to him, my passion and fervency in preaching despite the poor attendance made him to invite other people to come with him to the meetings.
Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God (2 Tim. 1:8).
There are afflictions, sufferings and tribulations that go with the gospel. Except we carefully consider and prepare for this before starting the journey of ministry, we are likely to be discouraged. The ministry of the gospel is packaged with affliction. This is inescapable; it might be criticism, overlabour, or satanic attacks.
In the gospel, we ‘bleed’ to bless. Where there is no ‘bleeding,’ there can be no blessing. All who are conferring one blessing or the other on people through the gospel have either ‘bled’ or are ‘bleeding’ somewhere. Something in one area or the other in their lives are suffering. Ask the wives or the children of very mighty men of God how they fare. The family is ‘bleeding’ because ‘daddy blesser’ is never at home. And even when he’s home, the crowds that want attention, the long private prayers, and the solitude spiritual preparations of the man of God for ministrations, make him mostly inaccessible or unavailable to his family. He is ‘bleeding’, the family is blessing, but the people are getting blessed. Jesus Christ, as our example, bled to death on the cross in order to bless humanity. Jesus advised those who want to enroll under his discipleship to count the cost (Luke 14:28-33).
8. A DESERTER WHO BECAME A DEFENDER
The following is an interesting story and ministerial trajectory of a young minister called John Mark
• And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together praying (Acts 12:12).
• And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem, when they had fulfilled their ministry, and took with them John, whose surname was Mark (Acts 12:25).
• And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark. But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work. And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus; And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God (Acts 15:37-40).
The Bible introduces John Mark to us as a man with good Christian foundation or upbringing. His mother was a woman of prayer who hosted the prayer meeting that led to the deliverance of Peter from the prison of Herod in Acts chapter 12. John Mark himself had shown good Christian virtues that commended him to the apostles Barnabas and Saul (Paul) who without hesitation took him along with them in their initial missionary journeys. Unfortunately, this young man was not prepared for the characteristic afflictions of the gospel he had to face on the mission field. He probably endured for a while before eventually capitulating and deserting the mission field, an action that made Paul to blacklist him from future ministerial journeys.
Over time, John Mark matured as a Christian minister and had become more committed and more prepared to shoulder the burden of ministry, possibly under the mentorship of Barnabas who was willing to give him another chance. But Paul would have none of it, as he had not gotten over Mark’s attitude of field or mission abandonment. His rejection of Mark accompanying them on further missions led to a needless heated contention and subsequently separation of the two apostles, as Barnabas took Mark with him while Paul went away with Silas.
Later in the life of Paul, towards the end of his earthly journey, we see him sending for John Mark to come and assist him in ministry, for he had now become profitable to him for ministry. This is what the grace of God can do. A deserter can become a defender in future.
For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry (2Tim. 4:10-11).
Life is a battlefield. Ministry work is like warfare. We have to fight and continue fighting, to win. No victory or success is cheap. Success always comes with a price. And we have to pay the PRICE in order to win the PRIZE.
To be victorious in any battle, the soldier must learn to be determined, courageous and stand his ground. A good soldier never quits the battlefield until victory is achieved. At the same time, seasoned and battle-tested mighty men (matured ministers and leaders) must also learn to make room for the weaknesses of new and inexperienced, or weary soldiers.
Let’s never bury our wounded or weary soldiers alive. Dry bones can put on flesh, receive life and become living and fighting troops again.
God does not write any man off. Therefore, we must not write off any individual. Those we think are useless today may become useful tomorrow. A failure today can become a success tomorrow. As leaders, let us not get tired of encouraging our team. Let us not be weary in well doing, for we shall reap a bountiful harvest if we faint not. John Mark later became a pillar of success for Paul’s ministry in his old age.
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