Raising Up the Next Generation for Ministry

For 20 years, I have had the privilege to work at one of the nation’s premier science laboratories owned by the Department of Energy.
 
This laboratory is now over 50 years old – and for those of you in the building and utility business – you know 50 years is about how long these systems last without major reinvestment. I am amazed every day with the physical actions that a very dedicated work force conducts to keep the old place up and running. Actions that not many people know about and most take for granted and so much so, we don’t plan as well as we should to prepare for replacing a seasoned workforce just a few years from retirement.

Again today, as I was hearing about two major waterline breaks and a site wide problem with our building security system, I thought about the parallels in the spiritual world and how critical even urgent it is to grow up the next generation here too.

 
Bringing this a little closer to home at our church – Faith Assembly – there are countless people I call spiritual giants, operating as prayer warriors and servant leaders in any number of our ministries and meeting needs (some of which not many people even know about). Several of these people are retirees, near retirees, and others in the midst busy lives. They serve with a happy heart for the Lord and for the local church body. Importantly, they are mentors and models seeking to raise up the next generation to serve after them and in their footsteps.
 

Without raising up the next generation at our places of employment and churches, how will these places be sustained to not just survive but to thrive?

2 Corinthians 9:12
This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.
Ephesians 4:12
…to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.
 
If there is no next generation, who will be there to know how to repair the next waterline? In the local body, who will be there to pray and serve in the various ministries God has given us?
 
  • If you are one of our more seasoned spiritual giants, I thank God for you. Keep going.

 

  • If you are a more seasoned person without a specific ministry focus, I also thank God for you and submit it’s never too late to serve in whatever way God calls you. Get involved. There is no retirement in the Kingdom of God.

 

  • If you are one of the not-so-seasoned currently serving the body, I thank God for you and your willingness to be mentored as the next generation. Keep learning, serving and growing. God is using you for to reflect his glory.

 

  • If you are one of the not-so-seasoned not currently serving the body, I also thank God for you and submit that the body needs you. God knows whom He will call; so please be in prayer as to how He wants to use you and be open to His prompting. You will find community, growth, and God will use you for His glory.
Revelation 2:19
I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first.
 
Over the past 23 years of my service for the Kingdom and my observation of others in service over this same period, I have found time and time again that God is faithful and His promises are true – He equips those He calls! God bless you as you serve.
 
Author:
Elder 

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Bread or a Stone – What Will You Offer the Lord?

There isn’t a person among you who would give his son a stone if he asked for bread,
is there?
Matthew 7:9 (ISV)
 
Many of us are familiar with Matthew 7:9. Although this scripture is rich with lesson as it was intended, for our purpose however, we’re going to focus on the topics of asking, giving, and the gift. You and I will remain the ‘giver’ as noted in the scripture, the ‘receiver’ will be God and the gift will remain bread or a stone.
  • The bread – giving of ourselves to serve others. Allowing God to use us to minster to others or share the material blessings He’s given us for the sake of the kingdom.
  • The stone – knowing God called us to move out of our comfort zone to meet the needs of someone else. We reason with ourselves, giving us the opportunity to ignore the need, ignore the call, and give God a stone.

Bread or a stone?

It’s here the bread and stone in Matthew 7 took on a different meaning for me. My husband and I were praying about how God might use us to minister to others. We couldn’t find peace or direction. Did we believed God wanted us to share? Were we allowing a situation to lead us to share? Were we really in a position to do this? These questions kept us in constant doubt. One day as I pondered the need to make a decision, this thought came to me, “if you have bread will you give God a stone?” I didn’t question it nor whom it came from; I knew it was from the Father. What relief that question brought to the decision making – easy peasy when you know what to ask, right?

I would have welcomed it if the thought could have been a ‘one and done’ but – not so. God intended to work more deeply in my heart than I counted on, making sure this question was solidified for me: “if you have bread will you give God a stone?”

I tried to ignore the question.

After trying to ignore answering it, I needed to come to terms with the question God asked me. Unfortunately I had to confess, all my life I decided whether I would serve others when God called me, or I would ignore His voice and serve myself. It grieves me to say, if I took the stones I’ve given God and built a wall with them, I’m confident it would dwarf the Great Wall of China.

The bread God offers us is not to satisfy the needs of our body, but to satisfy the needs of our soul. He gives bread that brings life instead of death. It’s the greatest sacrificial servant act that could ever be offered.
 
Do not work for food that perishes but for food that lasts for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you because God the Father has set His seal on Him.
John 6:27 (ISV)
 
The bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.
John 6:33 (ISV)
 
Jesus told them, “I am the bead of life. Whoever comes to me will never become hungry,
and whoever believes in me will never become thirsty”.
John 6:35 (ISV)

 

He changed my heart.

That’s how Matthew 7:9 changed my heart. When I know the Lord is asking me to serve Him now, and I feel my flesh rise up offering reasons to doubt, I ask myself the question: “Cindy, if you have bread will you give God a stone?” I’ve committed myself to stop and answer the question. It helps me stay centered regarding what is right and who I am in God. Because of this, it has become a precious blessing to serve when He calls.
 
Reason being, I want the Father to have every crumb of bread He desires to do His work – no matter what. What I’ve called sacrifice is really not sacrifice at all! It is disciplining my flesh, allowing the call to serve become a blessing.
 
The next time you’re faced with making the choice to serve or not, take time to ask yourself the question: “if I have bread will I give God a stone?” My hope is you will choose to serve.
 
Author: 
Church Development
Faith Assembly

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