I remember leading hundreds of workshops throughout the nineties about the priority of evangelism for the Church. One line that I would repeat every time was, “The good can be the enemy of the best!”
This refrain has come back to haunt me lately as I have begun to work at two ministry positions, each part time. I find that I now have to reflect more ruthlessly than ever on my priorities. I simply can not say yes to every good opportunity which presents itself or I will quickly be working at two full time positions and careening toward yet another wall.
I took some time this week to meet with a veteran Community Chaplain, David Way of Moncton. He gave me some great counsel about setting priorities. In fact he took me back to one of the texts I used to use as a teacher, “The Master Plan of Evangelism” by Robert Coleman, in which Coleman shows Jesus’ method of prioritizing. He spends time with the crowds but the bulk of his time is with those who are keenest to move forward.
I realize that I need to set two priorities in both areas of ministry, with Street Hope and Community Chaplaincy, 1) volunteer equipping and releasing, and 2) concentrated undiluted discipleship with those who are ready to make changes in their lives.
In future I will use these priorities as a screen through which I will pour all considered actions and those good ideas which do not fit I will have to refuse.
Tomorrow Street Hope in partnership with StoneChurch and Community outreach worker Catherine Bonham, will start a new ministry. We will be offering a Saturday morning drop in and breakfast. The bulk of the work will be done by a team from Street Hope who have been meeting and praying ( and chomping at the bit) preparing for an opportunity to share by word and deed, the good news. Already this seems to have grown in to a much bigger thing than the few people Catherine and I initially though might come on a Saturday morning but we believe God is in this. We have a tremendous team of people ready to help. We are so grateful to God to see this team of people who not long ago would have only considered themselves as recipients of ministry and not ‘ministers’. Our big challenge going forward is financial. We will need to buy pan cake mix, juice, eggs, bread, milk etc. every week for 80 plus who we are expecting.
We chose Saturday morning because there is often no public meal held on a Friday night in Uptown or the South End and there are still a number of homeless people who could use a warm place with a hot breakfast. We also plan to make clear that this is about good news. We will do this with testimonies, videos, and music. We will be training a team to offer prayer ministry in a quiet corner.
Please pray for us and for our needs going forward. It may be important for the morale of our Street Hope team to have a ‘success’.