Monday, May 11, 2009
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven…”
Ok… before some of you start singing The Byrds… (To everything... turn turn turn...)
For some time the winds of change have been blowing around the area of ministry where I serve here at Bethel Church here in Fargo. What has been 11 years of solid and Spirit-led ministry in Sunday nights to College Students and Young Adults has come to an end. Now, we usually have some kind of ending at the conclusion of the Academic Calendar however this time is different… this time it has ended and will never be the same.
I have been thinking about HOW to think about and celebrate with others the things that God has done and at the same time communicate the sincere Joy in my heart about the future? This has led me to Solomon and his wisdom from Ecclesiastes.
This post explains in a little more depth my heart and mind as it relates to my current ministry situation and perhaps can be helpful as you consider your own personal ministry and listening closely for the voice of the Shepherd directing His sheep.
The change in PRISM has been over a year in the works. To be honest, I (along with others) feel that, in many ways, PRISM has “run its course.” That is often a tag attached to something that has failed or is failing and that is unfortunate. There was a marathon here in Fargo this past weekend. The runners had a course… and a finish line. We celebrate and cheer them on as they race… where? To the end of the course! If the runner had “run his course” we would never deem him a failure. NO! We would lift him on our shoulders or pat him on the back and say, “Well Done!” and perhaps gather some friends to celebrate.
The hard part with something like PRSIM is that we don’t view it as a race… we view it as an expectation… an institution or structure that we build and when we are done it stands forever and I am learning in ministry… that is the real unfortunate part.
In reality there is one name and one institution that will remain when all else passes away... ONLY the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ and HIS eternal Kingdom will last through the fire and come out on the other side glorious and everlasting!
(Psalm 45; Psalm 135; Revelation 1:6; Revelation 11:15)
We are seeing a great need to re-focus our task in ministering to College Students and fulfilling the responsibilities that Paul outlines in Ephesians 4… to “Equip the saints for the work of the ministry…” (Eph. 4:12).
We recognize that although a large group gathering can be inspiring and powerful doesn’t have the same traction to dig into the Word and into real life-on-life discipleship as do smaller groups and time really teaching and wrestling with the Word of God so that we are forced to do something with the text and surrender to the Holy Spirit to bury it deep in our hearts and lives.
Because names (like PRISM) are temporary and HIS Kingdom is eternal we are able to “turn the page” as it were, in ministry structure to more effectively call a generation to Christ and equip them with the Word of God to know how to wield THAT sword with conviction and authority.
We, as a local church, have been given the mandate to equip the saints. The leadership here at Bethel has placed in my hands the sub-group of College students. I want to see this local church thrive in making disciples among college students. So we stand on the shoulders of all that has come before us in looking to the future… an army of men and women dressed in the Armor of God, rightly handling the Word of God advancing a Kingdom that will never end!
Suiting up with you,