Small Ministry
For Every Christian
By Dr. Ken Matto
(Job 8:7 KJV) Though thy beginning was small, yet thy latter end should greatly increase.
When God saved us, He chose to keep His children here and give them spiritual gifts, so He may empower them to reach the world for Christ. No matter what some Christians may think, God has given every believer at least one spiritual gift. (1 Cor 12:11 KJV) But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. The word “severally” in the Greek is the word “idios” which means “One’s own or peculiar to oneself.” In 1 Corinthians 12:11, it basically conveys the meaning that the Holy Spirit gave each Christian a spiritual gift which is in line with their personality and abilities. Each Christian has been empowered to work with their spiritual gift and their abilities in harmony. For example, the Lord is not going to give the gift of mercy to someone who has a sharp, blunt personality, that would fall more in line with the gift of the prophet. The gift of mercy would be planted within someone who is gentle and compassionate.
When we understand that every Christian has a spiritual gift, including you, the reader, then we begin to understand that we have a reason of existence in this world. Before the Lord went back to Heaven, He gave us a command, not a suggestion. (Mark 16:15 KJV) And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. The command was to go into all the world and preach the Gospel. The word “preach” in the Greek is the word “kę russo” which means to “herald or proclaim.” It does not necessarily mean pulpit preaching but that is a method which is included. Heralding the Gospel can be done with voice or the written word. Both of these methods are available to all Christians and that is the basis of this article.
Before the advent of the internet, the majority of Christians were forced to listen to the teachings of a minority group. What I mean by that was that we were all held captive to either radio or TV ministries. You turned the radio on and you heard a famous preacher. You turned the TV on and you see a famous preacher. Now I am not saying that all of the media ministries were or are bad, but what we have all learned and witnessed throughout the last few decades is that the more famous a preacher becomes the more they are prone to drifting and apostasy. Those who listened to Family Radio for any length of time heard the ranting of Harold Camping and his May 21 debacle where nothing happened. Those who watch the Inspiration Network, will see that all they talk about is money with Mike Murdock as their mouthpiece. TBN with all their faith healers that couldn’t heal anyone. Chuck Colson is pro-Catholic as he was one of the originators of the Evangelicals and Catholics together document where the signers believe that Roman Catholics are saved Christians. The teachings of James Dobson are all basically psycho-babble. D. James Kennedy believed the Shroud of Turin was really the burial cloth of Jesus. Pastor John Hagee does not believe the Jews need to receive Christ for salvation. Southwest Radio Church is obsessed with Israel. Billy Graham and Robert Schuller both believe you do not need to receive Christ for salvation if you are a member of other Christ-less world religions. Jack Van Impe now glorifies Roman Catholicism. T.D. Jakes denies the trinity. Joel Osteen never mentions sin and hell. Many more false teachings can be stated here but if you ponder for a moment if this is all we had to listen to, how could one ever grow truthfully in the Lord, when the majority of media ministries are apostate and for profit of those who own them.
I had mentioned that D. James Kennedy believed that the Shroud of Turin was truly the burial cloth of Christ. A few months before I wrote this article, I had heard the rebroadcast concerning the Shroud of Turin and I sent an e-mail, with appropriate Scriptures to Dr. Jerry Newcombe expressing my agreement with the belief that the Shroud of Turin was a fake. What I received back was a canned response telling me what Dr. Kennedy believed. That is one of the problems with mega-ministries, there is no personality. What happened to my e-mail was it went to a buffer so the real important big shot never received it and all I got back was the canned response. (Mark 5:30-31 KJV) And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes? {31} And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? Even Jesus when He was surrounded by a great multitude had time to respond to the woman who touched Him. Ivory tower ministry personnel could take a lesson from Him.
Another problem with the mega-ministries and the media ministries is that they are always offering books or products with each other’s names on it. They offer materials written by other media ministers and all you ever get is the opinion of a very few. It is a private club where they have locked up all the entrances and no one is allowed in except a crony. Some media minister writes a book and another media ministry offers it. You mean to tell me there is nobody else out there who is self-published and worthy to have their materials offered? It seems the National Religious Broadcasters have completely tied up the airwaves and has disallowed anyone from joining their ranks who isn’t endorsed by one of their elite members. In other words, it is the “good ole boy network” in action. This is why it is time for Christians to focus on small ministries for getting out the Gospel.
Smaller Ministries - Their Time Has Come!
At this juncture, I want to present some reasons why small ministries are preferable to larger ministries in these last days.
Greater Accountability in Preaching
Let us say you have a preacher who has become an itinerant evangelist and desires to go from church to church. Since he would not be in a situation where he would be preaching to thousands in a big stadium, he would be more accountable because his audiences would be much lower in number. If he was speaking to 25-100 people in a church, he could not hide behind guards who would sweep him away into his limousine. He would mingle with the people and get to know them. He may not have a staff but maybe a group of friends who would accompany him to help and if they listen intently to the message and he makes a theological blunder, they can call him on it. Try to tell Billy Graham or Ken Copeland they are wrong about something, you will never get passed their buffers and guards. The preacher might be confronted immediately by a person who may have caught the error and can correct it for the future. The same thing can also be applied to one who has a writing ministry. The bottom line is, the smaller the ministry, the more accountability is present.
Greater Accountability in Lifestyle
When someone has a smaller ministry with a small donor base, they are not only accountable for the message they preach but also for the lifestyle they lead. They know that if they only have a small donor base and friends who help in the ministry, then they will think twice about making bad decisions. In the 1980’s when the big ministries were falling left and right, one thing that was done was hush money was being paid to people to keep their mouths shut. In a small ministry, there is no place to hide and there is barely enough money to keep the ministry afloat. This is a good thing because if there is scarcity of funds and any of it is missing, then it will surface immediately, so there is the cudgel that would keep someone on the straight and narrow. These humongous ministries have millions of dollars and if a few hundred thousand are lost, they can always claim cash donations were down or use some other cover up technique. The smaller ministry prevents this and allows a continuity in ministry without scandal. It is doubtful that anyone would want to take a chance to be exposed as a phony. For a Christian to lose their testimony, is to lose their primary witness and trying to regain a testimony that has been lost is nearly impossible because once you are deemed a phony, it will spread and you will never have the same ministry again. Jimmy Swaggart never regained the level of ministry he once had, in fact, you can barely find him on any stations except one, the Sonlife Broadcasting Network which is on satellite. If you do not have satellite, then you will not get him which means his ministry is severely limited.
Greater Accountability in Donation Acceptance
Large ministries must maintain incomes of millions of dollars to sustain salaries and outreach and this situation results in many ministries taking money from unbelievers or from ungodly Christian organizations. Some years ago when Oral Roberts claimed that God was going to take him home if he did not raise a certain amount of money, a dog track owner came forward and gave him 1.3 million dollars in March 1987. In a small ministry, you are able to reject donations from people you believe are trying to exert undue influence on your ministry and beliefs. Many ministries accept money from nefarious organizations and as a result they must tailor their ministry to the requests that goes along with big donations. In a small ministry, you need not be diverted from your message and ministry by Satan sending someone to bribe you with a big donation.
Less Time in Preparation
With less time in preparation for each event, more ministry can be performed. Sometimes when someone like Billy Graham would come to a city for a crusade, they would start preparing a year or more in advance and would tie up literally thousands of hours of work just for a week or even for a few days. In other words, one year in exchange for one week. If one person had an itinerant ministry and sent out flyers to the church that they are available for ministry on certain dates, and let us say that seven churches accept their invitations on seven consecutive weekends, then the only one who would be tied up for a while would be those Christians who are having the speaker in their church. In other words, you would have seven churches, preparing for seven weekends of ministry and instead of those hours being consecutive for one event, they would be concurrent for seven events, which would be a greater usage of time especially in our day when time is at a premium. In May 2011, the Will Graham celebration came to Asbury Park, NJ and literally hundreds of Christians, along with many churches, were involved and tied up for months on just one weekend of ministry. Ministry is something that needs to be done constantly and not just once or twice a year.
Develops Christian Abilities and Gifts
Smaller ministries affords the opportunities for Christians to develop their abilities and gifts. Small ministries need all the people that is associated with them to be involved. A person who has a small ministry may have a group of friends helping him and that requires all to be involved. A person may take on multiple tasks and from this they will discover that they have the ability to coordinate things or show management capabilities. A person who has the spiritual gift of ruling may be able to develop it and will manifest that gift in its various ways during planning. So Christians who are normally dormant, may be able to bring out their abilities and this would mean they have much more to offer in the way of doing ministry.
More Direct in Delivering Truth
One of the biggest problems of larger ministries, they tend to try and appease a wide audience so as not to offend others, AKA the good givers. In a small ministry, the person who is speaking is not normally living an ivory tower lifestyle and does not have to worry about maintaining a high level of living. Therefore, the worldly things do not get in the way of delivering Bible truth. He is free from the thoughts of fear of losing his big donors. If he delivers truth and the place where he is preaching does not like it, they will not invite him back, so he goes on to the next church. With thousands of churches worldwide, he will never exhaust his places to preach. (Mat 10:23 KJV) But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come. Just as the Disciples would be unable to go thoroughly through the nation of Israel and declare the Gospel in their lifetime, neither would any single Christian be able to minister to every person in the world. This also means that there will never be a lack of ministry and people to hear the message. Those in small ministry do not have to be accountable to an ecumenical board of directors, their accountability is solely to the Lord Jesus Christ to preach truth. It is a shame that those who head up mega-ministries feel more accountable to men than they do to God.
More Personable
One of the best assets of a small ministry is the fact that you can be more personable. That is, you can get to know personally the people that you minister to. They are not just donors or numbers on a computer list but real people with real names and real concerns. It is a reality that people will be able to phone you and actually talk to you and not a buffer. You will actually be able to increase your friendship list by befriending people. When people know that to you, they are more than a donor or a number on a computer list, you will be doing the same type of ministry the Lord Jesus Christ did. (Mark 5:30 KJV) And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes? Jesus was thronged by crowds and yet He took time to speak to the woman who was healed by just touching Him. That is what small ministry is all about, to minister to those who have been forgotten by big ministries and big churches. To show them that they are a somebody and worthy of your notice. If there is one thing lacking in ministry today, it is the personal touch in dealing with people and that is why many people feel like they are unworthy, especially if they come from a poorer section of town. The reality is that every soul is eternal and worth the attention of anyone in ministry, in fact, any Christian, since we are all supposed to be in the ministry of reconciliation. (2 Cor 5:18-19 KJV) And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; {19} To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
Personal Involvement
This is probably one of the greatest benefits of small personal ministry and that is you are more then a check. When you send in money to a good but large ministry, you are involved as you support that ministry. If one supports a ministry like Trans World Radio, they are helping get the Gospel to parts of the world that they may never visit. However, once you write and mail the check, your personal involvement is over at that point. A small ministry enables Christians to be involved personally with the Great Commission. Involvement gives a Christian a sense of worth beyond being more than a check sending Christian. It gives the Christian a sense of belonging and a reason of existence beyond going to church and writing checks. Christians must also never compare themselves to other Christians with ministries because sometimes God may give one Christian a larger ministry and another one a smaller ministry. It does not matter as long as both are faithful to the truth of God’s Word. God saved you, placed a spiritual gift in you, and is ready to send you out into the world with a ministry specifically designed for you. Just think of all time spent in idling mode. If you took all that time and invested it in ministry, you would literally be full time in ministry.
Here is where many Pastors are going to be severely accountable to the Lord. There are many in churches today who have tremendous potential for ministry and instead of pastors encouraging them to be involved beyond the doors of the church, they discourage them making them believe that they need years of schooling before they can have an effective ministry. Thus they quash the zeal of many Christians and then they wonder why these Christians get into worldly things. It is a very evil way of protecting their position as many fear if someone comes along who can preach better then them, they might lose their good job. Every Christian has a ministry and no other Christian should discourage them from finding out what the ministry is and executing that ministry. In this article I have used an itinerant preaching ministry just as an example but there are scores of ministries available that each Christian can partake in. There is no such thing as an “official” ministry. Whenever and in whatever method you take the word of God, whether it be spoken or written, to the world, it is ministry.
There is a sham which many churches do and that is they issue a “license to preach.” This is another way of protecting the good ole’ boy network. There is no such thing found in Scripture because we have been commissioned by Jesus Himself to go to the ends of the world to bring the Gospel. This idea that one has to get man’s approval to do what God has already commanded is nothing more than a hindrance in obeying God’s command. Now you can go to your church leaders and discuss your ministry desires but they have no right to hinder you in executing a ministry that God has empowered you to do. If more Christians became involved in small personal ministry, this world would be blanketed with the Gospel and no area of the world would have to wait for an evangelist to show up and preach, it would already be happening.
Every Christian is empowered to do ministry and will have one if they know where God has empowered them to serve. Involvement in ministry can bring a personal satisfaction to a Christian. With technology today, ministry can be done right out of a person’s home. I upload these studies and instantly they are available to the world. Before I became disabled, I had an itinerant preaching ministry where I was available for churches and banquets and rescue mission preaching. God showed me where He empowered me and I did those ministries until I became disabled. Now my primary ministry is on the Internet. You too can begin to seek the Lord as to where He would have you minister in this world. There is an old saying, “Bloom where you are planted.” A flower planted will bloom right there, not five miles away. God has placed you right where you are for a reason and we must stop being lazy and get busy in the ministry. There is no such thing as an unqualified Christian, only a misplaced Christian!