Saturday, January 28, 2017

Evaluating Ministry

Then he said, “Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you’ll get some.” John 21:6a

For years I told Muslim women upon meeting them that I help people with conversational English practice. That is what I did year after year and loved it. Many doors opened as a result.

One day I sensed I should take some time for a personal retreat and evaluate ministry.  I had gotten stuck in a rut. I sensed the Lord say, “throw your net on the other side.” It was time to make some changes. What I concluded was that He wanted me to put helping Muslim women with conversational English aside and throw my net another direction. I gasped. How could I do that? I had gone about ministry like this for so many years and could not imagine any other way. It is one thing to sense such instructions but another to actually forge ahead into the unknown. The Lord was instructing me to dive in and share Christ more openly and deeply – not just help Muslim women with English conversation. It was exactly at that time we were packing up to move to another city for ministry.  Envisioning doing exactly the same thing there, namely, helping Muslim women with conversational English I placed a big box of English Oxford Picture Dictionaries and all kinds of resources into the moving van. But not once in four years in that new city did they come out. A new freedom developed in evangelism. It wasn’t that it was wrong for me to use conversational English practice as a means of connecting with Muslim women. It just was that God wanted to develop and hone evangelistic sharing skills more in me and the English resources and methods were getting in the way which I needed to be freed from for a season. What an exciting four years flew by as I threw my net on the other side. I took a big risk and made some major changes. I was sure that doors would close if I talked about Jesus very much to my Muslim women friends. He must have chosen specific women for me to learn on because most of the doors stayed wide open.

The time came for us to make another move four years later. Guess what? The English conversation resources came back out, but this time, they became more a means to help me in preparing the ground to witness. Before I was using the resources but did not move forward in witnessing. Now I was able to get out of my rut of overly depending on my method which had become routine and familiar. It can be scary throwing our net on the other side but if the instruction is coming from the Holy Spirit we can trust Him that He knows what He is doing. If it is not coming from the Holy Spirit I would not move ahead. I am not into experimenting for the sake of trying new things but rather into understanding and doing the will of God.

Dear heavenly Father, please help me to trust your instructions and to act upon them. In Jesus’ name, Amen.