Thursday, August 18, 2022

Careless with Ministry Tasks

Most people will agree that God has a purpose for their life. Many have a genuine desire to do something for the Lord. How will we do anything for the Lord? Should we pursue it, or will something come to us?

There are many ways in which people get engaged with the work of the Lord.

1.     Their desire and commitment push them to volunteer and do things.

2.     They are pushed into something by others because there is a need, and they have the talent to do it.

3.     They are asked or forced to take up some responsibility because others think they will grow by doing things even though they may have no experience.

4.     They get opportunities because there is pressure within their church or organization to provide them to people. People may end up with things they do not want to do.

5.     They want fame and fight to get positions, so elections take place with a lot of competition.

6.     They get a direct vision or call from the Lord and pursue that in obedience.

There may be other ways, but my focus today is what happens after taking up the role. The Bible is clear that we should not be careless or lax when it comes to assignments related to the work of the Lord, and God expects faithfulness from us when it comes to the task given to us.

Jer.48:10- "A curse on anyone who is lax in doing the Lord's work!.."

Luke 16:10- "Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.

Few things to consider-

1.     Do not take up roles that you cannot do or know that you are not going to do anything.

2.     Do not hold positions for the sake of name or fame, and many hold on to posts due to the organization's brand name.

3.     If you are inactive and not doing much, give up and let someone else do it. Trust God that He can use others if you are too busy.

4.     Understand that holding a position and not doing anything hinders the Lord's work. Your inactivity is killing the organization slowly.

5.     Do not take up positions under pressure. Pray and take it if you realize that God is calling you to do it. It does not mean that you shy away from everything.

6.     If you take any position or role, allocate X hours per week or every month for that role. Add it to your calendar or list of things to do. Make sure you are thinking about it and making sure that you are playing your part in the progress and overall growth. Never sleep over the work you are assigned.

7.     Be intentional with completing the work. Do not delay what can be done today. Do not go into hibernation mode for no reason.

8.     Be focused and diligent with your assignments. Lack of focus is killing many mission initiatives these days.

9.     Do not fall into the trap of having divided loyalty and ignoring one over the other. I have different roles, and I have to balance them. I cannot be focused on things that drag me and ignore others. The best way to handle it is to evaluate your commitments. If you feel you will neglect something or do not have the time, relieve yourself from that role.

10.  Do everything wholeheartedly, knowing that you are doing Lord's work and not for anyone else. Your reward will be from the Lord.

In conclusion, let me encourage you to evaluate your commitments and ensure you contribute diligently to everything you have taken up. Do not let missions suffer because of your busyness, lack of focus, and intentionality. If we do that, we will have to answer to God one day.

God bless you! 

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Thriving Talk - Purpose of Life

Episode 4 of Thriving Talk is out. The topic this time is Purpose of Life. This is the first Dad-Son edition. Tim, my son, sits with me and asks questions about life, purpose, spirituality, faith, etc. 

YouTube Link to the latest episode - https://youtu.be/cnbNrRsrBmU





Tuesday, August 16, 2022

DMHS - Practical Submission

Sharing the sermon, I preached this Sunday at my church. It is in English. It was a heartfelt message in which I shared how God taught me about submission last year.

Main Points from the message

  • Message Portion:-James 4:1-10
  • Main Verse -  James 4:7 -  So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (NLT)
  • Question - Are we really submitted? 
  • Practical Surrender - More than words. Heart and actions.
  • God owns all; He owns me; He owns my home; He owns my children; He owns my property. I have called your attention before to the fact that the modern idea of ownership is pagan. The Christian idea is this: that God is the absolute owner of all things. - Clovis G. Chappell
  • DMHS - Evil Desires -> Wrong Motives -> False Humility =>Complete Submission
    1. Desires which lead to fighting (4:1-2)
    2. Wrong motives (4:3-4)
    3. Humble in words but proud in reality (4:5-6)
    4. Submit, Resist and humble before the Lord - Let him exalt you (4:7-10)
  • If there be, therefore, perpetual failure in your life, it cannot arise from any weakness or impotence in the Mighty God; but from some failure on your part. That failure may probably be discovered in one of three hiding places--imperfect surrender, deficient faith; or neglected communion. But when the intention of the soul is right with God, without doubt He will save. - F.B. Meyer

YouTube Link - https://youtu.be/jP1uL0RoLWk




Thursday, August 11, 2022

Local Church vs. Parachurch Ministry commitments

I came across a church's Position Paper (intentionally leaving it out as I disagree with many things they have on their site). The paper has some good points but does not agree that the parachurch ministry is biblical. 

As someone who pastors a local church as well as gives leadership in a parachurch ministry, I thought about it and did some research. I want to share my thoughts on this topic.

Let us start with some simple definitions.

Local Church The local church is the consistent gathering of Christians within a particular community or area.

Parachurch ministry - Parachurch organizations, are Christian faith-based organizations that work outside and across denominations to engage in social welfare and evangelism. They are focused on particular areas.

Why should I write about this?

I am the pastor of a local church, and I have members who volunteer or help with other parachurch ministries. I also give leadership in an organization that has people who are members of local churches but also volunteer and support the ministry with their finances. I have encountered scenarios where people start ignoring their local church as they get busier with parachurch commitments. It has at times created tensions and issues. Many pastors feel betrayed by parachurch ministries because they use their talented members to work outside the church. That sometimes leads to intentional or unintentional opposition to a volunteer in a parachurch organization. This all leads to some unhealthy scenarios, ultimately hindering the work we all should be doing with one goal and focus.

Some ridicule and mock sincere people volunteering in parachurch ministry because they are passionate about the mission and vision of that organization. I want to give some guidelines based on my understanding of this matter. I will accept that many people may disagree with me based on where they are today with their commitments. I can still see people who may think of what they do as superior to what their pastor and church do. Then some people will say that parachurch ministry is not the actual ministry and people are wasting their time. I deal with people who volunteer sincerely but struggle to balance and get discouraged.

What is the Issue?

The concern raised by people who do not support a parachurch ministry is that we cannot find any parachurch ministry in the Bible. The concept of parachurch church ministry did not exist in the first century; hence, we do not see it mentioned in the Bible. In most cases, a parachurch ministry carries out a mission independent of any local church and fulfills a need that a local church may not be able to accomplish. A good parachurch ministry will have the goal of partnering with local churches and complementing the mission. They will not be doing anything that will hinder or harm the local church's mission. They will not start their churches by pulling people away from local churches. The parachurch organization I serve works among students and is focused primarily on campus ministry. We do not plant churches but work with local churches and connect people who come to Jesus Christ. I cannot think of my local church doing an effective campus ministry on its own based on the size, volunteers, and people equipped to work among students. I may be able to pull a few people and encourage them to do a few things, but it will not be as effective as a student-focused ministry.

Today if you pick any influential pastor who serves in a big church, it will be hard to find someone who does not lead a parachurch ministry. When a local church and parachurch organization partner and work together, it can be very effective. The local church can provide financial support and encourage people to volunteer with the parachurch ministry. Many big churches run many parachurch-type ministries under their banner. They have the resources to execute additional projects which is beyond the scope of a ministry within a local church. A parachurch organization is playing a support role to the local church in reality, and they are protecting the local church.

There are many non-profits created for other purposes. Some do fundraising and send money to foreign organizations, and others may have private 501c registrations for tax purposes. All those organizations are out of the scope of this discussion as I do not believe they have a particular vision or area of focus. We are only focusing on parachurch ministries that have a clear mission and focus. They work along with different local churches.    

Some guidance for volunteers in a parachurch organization

·       Do not view your parachurch organization as your local church.

·       Do not ignore your local church and view it as unimportant since you are doing many things.

·       Do not intentionally plan events that directly conflict with your local church events. For example, if you are doing a student ministry, do not plan a student meeting for Sunday morning when your local church has service time with the intent to skip your church. Your actions and plans should convey a clear message that the end goal of your mission is to see people committed and growing within a local church as per what the Bible teaches. There will be occasions when some commitments or programs may conflict with your church program. Make sure your local church leadership is aware of it and understands the reason.  This can avoid a lot of unnecessary speculations.

·       Make sure pride does not come into your life as you experience high moments in the parachurch ministry. For example, do not become arrogant after a successful mission trip or event where you saw great results.

·       Do not criticize or belittle your pastor and other church members, thinking they are inward-focused, not doing any mission, etc. They do many things to ensure that the local church functions correctly and that all members grow spiritually.

·       Have good communication with your local church pastor and leaders. Even if they may not appreciate what you are doing, continue to show them respect by being accountable.

·       Take part in essential activities of the church. Do not ignore events in church thinking what you do is better than what the church can do. The goal of a local church is more than having a place for hatching-matching-dispatching (Baby Dedication- Baptism-Funeral).  

Some guidelines for church pastors, leaders, and members

·       Accept our limits and acknowledge that we cannot run all types of ministries under the church. We need parachurch organizations to do what we cannot do to accomplish the greater purpose.

·       Always acknowledge and remember that most volunteers are very sincere and have a call and passion for the mission they are involved. They are not there for name or fame.

·       Treat and see them as co-laborers in ministry.

·       Provide them with whatever support and encouragement you can provide.  

·       Never treat them as opponents. They are also doing their part in the big mission which God has started to restore lost humanity.

·       Understand their calling and do not try to destroy them if they do not align with everything you want them to do.

Conclusion

In conclusion, always have a kingdom-first mindset and work towards the goal of winning souls. For that, we need unity and not competition. When someone very talented and active in my church relocates for work or other reasons, I get excited sometimes. Humanly speaking, it is a loss within the context of our church. I am happy as I always think God is moving them to accomplish a purpose, and He needs them there. If they are faithful, we will see a more significant impact on expanding the kingdom of God. Having a few more people sitting in my church may help me to boast about numbers, but I have a view that resources for the kingdom work need to be strategically distributed. If I have four people who can play guitar, I do not need them all. I will be happy if one of them ends up where no one can play the guitar. They will also be able to use their talents to grow and strengthen that church.

If a member of my congregation, rather than roaming around in a mall, gets involved with a homeless shelter mission and uses their time and energy for the kingdom's work, I will rejoice. Rather than spending money on expensive vacations, if someone goes on a medical mission and touches the poor and needy, I will do whatever I can to support them since they have chosen the better from a biblical and eternity perspective.

Suppose a volunteer working with me at a parachurch ministry neglects the local church. I will not be happy as it will eventually drain them out spiritually, and they could lose all enthusiasm. I am not looking at short-term gains but have a long-term goal- to be with all those people in eternity with Jesus Christ, having fulfilled our purpose in our generation.  

Sharing some links if you want to read more about this topic from other ministries.

https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/what-is-a-parachurch-ministry

https://www.9marks.org/article/journalnine-marks-healthy-parachurch-ministry/

https://www.gotquestions.org/parachurch-ministries.html

https://graceandtruthcincy.org/pastors-blog/2019/2/6/mission-local-church-or-parachurch

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Thriving Talk - Bible Reading Habits and Plans

Another episode of Thriving Talk is out. The topic this time is Bible Reading Habits and Plans. In this episode, the discussion is about bible reading habits and plans.

YouTube Link to the latest episode - https://youtu.be/pW8nM_D5hU0





Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Do you believe?

I want to share the sermon I preached last Sunday at my church. I spoke in Malayalam with translation to English. 

Main Points from the messages.

  • Main Verse - Luke 1:45 - Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” (NIV)
  • Zachariah doubted while Mary believed.
  • Sarah laughed while Mary believed.
  • What is your default thought about the promises of God?
  • Five Practical Steps
    1. Have strong faith and conviction about who God is.
    2. We should believe and trust that God will fulfill His promises.
    3. Prepare yourself and wait.
    4. Do not dwell on negativity or mediate on negative things and say what is contrary to the word of God. Just shut up! 
    5. Give praise and glory to God when the promise of God is fulfilled.

YouTube Link - https://youtu.be/hcQ5KXdAaqU




Saturday, August 6, 2022

Thriving Newsletter - My Weekly Updates

I am happy to announce that I have started a Newsletter to provide an update about helpful resources. I will summarize what I shared and learned during the week and give updates on the projects I am working on. 

Feel free to subscribe here - https://tinkuthompson.substack.com/.


If you want to receive the newsletter, which should provide encouraging content, Subscribe. You will start getting weekly updates. If you do not get the email, check your Promotion folder in Gmail or spam folder the first time.  Move it email to your inbox.


Hope you will find this newsletter helpful. 

Careless with Ministry Tasks

Most people will agree that God has a purpose for their life. Many have a genuine desire to do something for the Lord. How will we do anythi...