Barnabas, Paul, Risk and Change

Take a chance on me…

Last year I was sat at a talk with the Fellowship of Parish Evangelists and hearing a great example of delegation. The speaker (Richard Scott) from T.F.M was talking about being a missionary doctor over-seas. Part of his job was to teach those in the hospital to do medical procedures, they might never do them as well as him a qualified Doctor, but they would be able to save someones life if they came to the hospital and the one doctor wasn’t there.

Our role as Christian’s -especially Christian leaders- is too leave people able to carry one without us. You can tell most about a leader -not when they are in the midst of ‘doing their thing’ but when they leave the root does everything continue.

I love the apostle Paul. I think he is a great example of a missionary (although interestingly potentially a rubbish speaker) A strategic missionary leader who released many, many ordinary Christian people to do evangelism and mission that continued when he moved on to the next place.

Paul the great enabler of mission and missionaries, the one who empowered people in the Kingdom cause, did so because he was empowered and equipped by Barnabas.

Barnabas  took a risk on S/Paul and invested in him, and gently pulled back. Interestingly how scripture records the exploits of “Barnabas and Saul” initially and then later “S/Paul and Barnabas”.

Paul was a challenger of the status quo.

Paul challenged the Christians to be changed, and to change what they did, how they did things and how they behaved.

For people to survive the Doctors need to do themselves out of a job.

This actual is difficult for us, we love to be needed, often our self-worth is wrapped up in our achievements and our productivity, and stepping back can be painful and costly even if ultimately worth it.

Delegating is wonderful but really hard if they don’t do as good job as you would do.

Delegating is wonderful but really hard if they do a better job than you would do.

I have had both scenarios and both have left me profoundly challenged.

The people might never have the same level of expertise as the Doctor, but they were equipped to be able to save lives.

I have previously blogged about success being redundancy. 

Reaching the stage where I am no longer needed to lead the people in evangelism and mission because they are equipped and confident to do it without me (in fact my heart is that they do it better than me!).

We don’t do mission, we are mission. A better word is about the community being missional.

Mission is not an event but rather a collective way of life.

A picture a lady had at the Fellowship of Parish Evangelists was of the Nile river disturbed by a Motor boat caused water to spray all over the banks of the river- it looked impressive and dramatic- it caused short term watering, of dry land, even looked mildly fruitful for a short term, but long term it wasn’t very fruitful, as it was a big splash not a habitual, regular watering and nurturing.

Hit and run evangelism, will not have a lasting impact without the full support of the local, indigenous body of believers contuning to actively live out their missional calling and their faith filling with God’s Kingdom DNA.

Christian Aid has recently popularized the phrase “Give a person a fish you’ll feed them for a day, teach them to fish and they’ll feed themselves for the life-time”. Yet when we think of Mission we still try and hand out fish, rather than equip the Saints to be those who live a life of fishing.

What of us? Do we still think of Mission as an Event rather than a way of life?

Are we faithfully watering and nurturing or running around expecting a dramatic ‘motor-boat big fix’ r which might make us feel good, but isn’t lastingly fruitful? Or are we instead growing local, indigenous missionaries? Missionaries which will be sharing Jesus with those around them long after we have become a distant memory.

Let’s be people that take a risk on each other, invest, mentor, love, empower one another to share Jesus where they are with whoever come across their Path.


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