Today as I sit and think about all the things that God has done in my life, I see that Jimmy and I are extremely blessed. We praise the Lord over the successes we have had in both our personal lives and ministries. We praise God for the struggles that we have lived through that have shaped who we are today. I must even praise God for my failures that show His true measure of grace.
What Make's a Great Ministry?
When people ask how you make a ministry successful, I tell them about our “bread making” ministry. No, we don’t literally bake bread. Hang on for a minute and let me explain to you what I mean…
What is a "Bread Making" Ministry?
All my young life, I would go to my grandmother’s house, and one of the things we would do was bake sour dough bread. The secret to making amazing sour dough bread is the starter. A starter is a small portion of bread dough that is reserved to start a new batch of bread. You must feed it to keep it alive and when the time comes it will be ready to perform. When you make a new batch of bread, you get out your starter and mix it with all the new ingredients for this batch of bread. It becomes completely absorbed into this new dough. Before making your bread, you must reserve a portion of it for your next starter. This bread and this starter are even better than the last because they both contain portions of the new ingredients and the faithful old starter that you have been diligent to feed and nurture. A dead starter cannot be revived nor can it be used to make new bread. Yet the bread that comes from this starter is better every batch because it blends all the different batches of bread you have ever made into one incredible loaf. That’s how we do ministry.
Our "Bread Making" Ministry
Even before I came into the picture, this was how Jimmy would do ministry. He received his very first “starter” when he was in college learning the skills he needed to feed the ministry. Then he made his first “batch” of youth ministry bread when he did a summer internship at a church in Columbia, Missouri. As he moved on to Fritch, Texas he expanded his bread making repertoire. When Jimmy moved to Fulton, Missouri, and we first met, I also had the privilege of being exposed to “starter” members that he had collected along his ministry path. Some of the people he brought along with him from previous ministries were Jeremy, Jeff, Dave, Troy, Chrissy, Penny, Bethany, Mandy, and others. They were able to do things together that they were never able to do alone. Jimmy met Jeremy when he was his youth minister in Texas. I met Jeremy at Millersburg when he came to help Jimmy with our first ever DNOW. Jeremy met his wife Hannah when we all worked together doing ministry in DeSoto, Missouri. Last night Jeremy, Hannah, and their children all came and helped Jimmy and I prepare our students for this weekends Disciple Now. Our kids are going to be the best “bread” yet because they have been exposed to the best “starter” so far.
Do You Get It?
I hope you get what I am saying. This principle can be used in any ministry and in life. Nurture the friends and relationships you have made along the way. Bring your “starter” of people, relationships, and experiences into your current life and ministry to make things even better! Learn to build from the strong foundation that you have been building all these years and someday the people you minister too will hopefully do even greater ministry than you! Wouldn’t that be amazing?!
My RED ALERT for You
WARNING: The quality of your starter will affect the quality of the “bread” that is made from it. Use wisdom and discretion when choosing the relationships and standards that you choose to expose your ministry to.