Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
2 Timothy 2:15
I want to commend David Brickner for the job that he is doing as Executive Director. He has the courage to reach farther than I would have thought possible, and to trust God to provide.
As for me, I never decided to lead a mission, or anything else. I just wanted to get the gospel out to my fellow Jews, and I recruited volunteers who later became staff. They had to become staff—they were spending so much time in ministry that groceries were getting thin, and housing was getting crowded.
As much as anything else, God used a Scripture verse that I once memorized to direct me on the road to leadership. It was 2 Timothy 2:15, quoted above in the New King James Version (when I memorized it, it was the regular King James Version!). To me, the verse meant study the situation. Get all the necessary information. Try to find Scripture principles that apply to the challenge of getting out the Word of God.
Many people who ask me how to get into ministry struggle with the wrong things. They haven’t studied the problem from a scriptural vantage point, and as a result they think that the way of ministry is to get all the necessary backing, and then begin the work of proclamation. They want years of training and organizational skills before they start to witness.
Well, that might be a good idea in running a business, but it’s not the way that God builds a story or a ministry.
First, the Great Commission wasn’t to gather your resources, make a budget and then deploy your witnessing teams. No, God didn’t tell people to be leaders; He told them to be witnesses. He said, “Go!” Just simply, “Go! Go do it on the basis of ‘Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.'” Too often we busy ourselves taking care of ourselves and our needs, just in case God doesn’t provide.
Second, one doesn’t need an MBA from Harvard, or any other school, to learn to do ministry. Study the Word of God to prepare for ministry, but remember that getting ready to do the task is not the same as doing it. It used to be that when I had to make a small household repair, I would go to Sears to make sure that I had all the equipment and supplies necessary, even though most of the time I had what I needed at home. Then I would look for a book to read up on the procedure. In short, I over-prepared for every job. Some of that extra preparation was just to work up courage to do the task, because I am clumsy with tools. Many people are fearful that they will be clumsy at witnessing, and consequently they may over-prepare to put it off.
Third, am I wrong, or does a minimum of organization and administration seem to work best in ministry? I believe that’s true, because God Himself guides.
When it comes to organization and building leadership, there are many books that one can read and systems one can put in place. All are good, and all are no good. There are many ways to lead—many different styles. However, there is no style of leadership that works unless it is diligently applied.
I’m not saying that books on leadership have no value. I am saying that we should study the Scriptures to know how best to serve God. The Bible gives all kinds of principles that will help. But we must apply what we read. If we don’t, reading more books will not help us get the job done.
Certain believers fail to rightly divide the Word of God. One must distinguish between the correct interpretation of the Scriptures (of which there is only one) and its possible applications, which are many.
I said that I had a commendation for David Brickner as my successor. That commendation is due, not only because he is willing to reach out farther, but because he looks to the Bible as his set of governing principles.