Help you or help me? Open-handed

Monday I talked about our commitment as a staff to help others have significant ministry, rather than seeing them helping to make our ministries significant. The first way that fleshes out is that we resist the urge to be staff heavy. Yesterday, I talked about how that mentality forces us to be simple - not program driven.

A third way our ministry philosophy impacts ministry here is that it allows us the freedom to be open-handed with our people.

I'm amazed at how many of my pastor friends see the church down the street as the competition. We don't see the church down the street as our competition - we see them as partners who are uniquely-equipped places for some people to have great ministry. And our belief that we exist to help others have great ministry allows us at times to free people to serve elsewhere if that's where they're a better fit.

We've got several key leaders who are extremely gifted in leading small groups, but who lead small groups as a part of Bible Study Fellowship. Sometimes, it's extremely tempting to ask those people out of BSF to lead our small groups. But we have to resist that urge. Our ministry isn't about building our ministry - it's about equipping and empowering people to serve in the work God is doing in the world... and we have to be comfortable with the fact that God is working in places outside our church's four walls.

About six months ago there was a girl involved in our singles ministry who was a teacher and cheerleading coach in a suburb of Fort Worth nearly an hour away from our church building. She had a tremendous ministry with a bunch of cheerleaders there, but traveled two or three times a week here to be involved in our stuff during the week. She was a high caliber leader, who could have been in leadership with any number of our stuff, but we ended up encouraging her to get plugged into a great church where all her cheerleaders attended. Today, her ministry is even stronger.

How can we let good people go to other churches when we need leaders here? Because we firmly believe God will always send us more leaders if we're faithful with the ones He sends us. Again... it isn't about forcing people to be a part of our thing. We don't have a corner on the "God market" in Fort Worth. And we're comfortable holding the people God gives us with an open hand.