When it comes to the bivocational life, no question, leaving a legacy (heck, just staying the course) is hard work. I know for me, finding time, energy, even resources…can quickly become challenging tasks when life seems to bottle up in any one area. With that said, I also know when we center our attention and effort on cultivating a reproducible ministry, we ultimately discover the mindset, heart, and tools necessary to be maximally faithful in our respective realms.
So while the topic of “reproducible ministry” may seem like a daunting topic to some, by embracing these three basic points, you’ll find achieving the dream by and through God is completely possible.
1) Spread the “wealth” – No, I’m not talking about financial delegation; rather, I’m talking about sharing leadership opportunities with the rest of the body.
I know, I know…that’s blasphemy, right? *Sarcasm*
Well, as sad as it may seem, there are still quite a few ministers who abide by the archaic notion that preaching and teaching is a one-man, uni-directional gig; however, when we look at what effective Kingdom-centered, missionally-minded ministry looks like, we find the common denominator lies not in sustainability, but in reproducibility. As Pastor Jim Harris, Discipleship Pastor at Grace Chapel, once said about cultivating a thriving, disciple-making culture, “What we do needs to be reproducible. If it’s too complicated, then it’s not mission-minded.”
In other words, a healthy ministry isn’t obtained through showmanship; it’s accomplished through partnership…and the fostering of an environment where God can ‘water’ the saints in their 1 Corinthians 12 anointing. See the difference?
So if you’re hitting a wall in the area, ask yourself, ‘Am I trying to sustain results by an over-concentration of my spiritual giftings or am I looking to help others retain and reproduce truth?’
‘Cause truth is: God gave everyone different gifts for a reason. I know for church leaders we tend to assume the church is a customized stage, but once we realize it’s actually a distribution center designed for all people to discover their identity and calling in Christ, our place of influence will sync up to a place of power as well.
My advice: ask the Lord to purify your motives…and to grow your fearlessness in connecting with people. Trust me: I know it can be easy to hide behind the podium; however, if you truly want to reach people, then you must commit to meeting them where they’re at so they can better see the kind of life they’re meant to live. That’s what reproducibility is all about.
2) Simplify the process – While this may seem painfully rudimentary, for a ministry to be reproducible, it’s fair to say it must be…remember-able (or re-memorable), right?
Unfortunately, I find many who think sound teaching is directly proportional to how “deep” and sacerdotal the content is. Yet, when we look at Jesus’ approach in his ministry, we find him using familiar language and relatable illustrations to drive home his points. In other words, Jesus didn’t aim his words over people’s heads; instead, he targeted their hearts for the sake of life change. So when I say “simplify the process”, what I’m really talking about is doing whatever we can to enable our word and effort to take root …whether we’re teaching people how to pick up their cross, follow Jesus, and fish for men…or using specialized planning apps like Evernote/Evernote web clipper/Penultimate/Logos Bible in tandem to better content construction.
My advice: integrate point #1 into point #2 (i.e. speak less, share more, and “partner” everything). You’ll find the more you do so, the more you’ll develop into the koinonia leader1 you were called to be.
3) Stir the rising generation – While I could write many a post talking about following Christ and what real change looks like, it’s all moot if we neglect the fact that mission assumes “3” 2 (i.e. to the third generation) and daily testifies the Gospel. Again, if we’re more concerned about our own flavor and style (as if you could put a patent on it), then we’re not going to come close to inspiring the emerging generation; if anything, the rising youth of our nation are sharp enough to smell inauthenticity a mile away. Yet, if we want to leave a reproducible legacy, then it’s imperative we view and live discipleship as God sees it and how Jesus executed it.
My advice: integrate point #2 into point #3 by allowing God do His part in wooing people to His heart and by being 100% responsible for the role He’s given you (i.e. surrendering, obeying, yielding…prepping in advance…preaching through books/genres of the Bible often, etc.3) You’ll find as long as you consecrate your focus on empowering young people to speak the truth in love in the way God has you, He’ll make fruitful your effort.
- Thanks to Marty Duren for this point’s inspiration
- Shout-out once again to Jim Harris
- Case and point: our youth group is going studying the parables through the storytelling method)
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