The Value of Diversity and Innovation to Ministry

April 30, 2018

By Peter Amsterdam

Audio length: 8:28
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“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.”—1 Corinthians 12:4–7, 11

The world is changing quickly, and information and knowledge is increasing exponentially. It seems like every time we turn around there’s a new invention, a new product, or some new groundbreaking approach to address the challenges the world faces today. Why should it be different regarding preaching the gospel and reaching the world for Christ? Why should we who serve the Lord not also be stirring up our creativity and seeking Him for new ideas and cutting-edge approaches that would facilitate greater or faster progress in the mission, or make our message or our approach more relevant to people?

In today’s multicultural society with global immigration blurring cultural lines, diversity is a relevant and fitting approach to meeting the needs of the world, which takes cultivating fertile ground for new ideas and fresh approaches. In ministry and mission service, creativity and personal initiative have become more and more highly valued. When God guides, and we take action to follow Him, anything is possible.1

We need to seek to stay in tune with the times and ask the Lord to lead us to the modern, fresh approaches that will more effectively spread the message and reach the lost in today’s world climate. It is uplifting to see new methods of spreading the gospel springing up in many mission fields. When you are face to face with the needs of the people you’re praying for and working hard to reach with God’s love, He is going to send you new ideas and inspiration. God is a living, moving God. He is well able to indicate a different tactic when that is what is needed to reach a particular field or culture with the gospel.

Different cultures may require different approaches. As the apostle Paul instructed, we are to “become all things to all men that we might by all means win some.”2 We can use our experience in appreciating the value of integrating into the local culture, being aware of the questions, longings, dreams, and heartaches of the people of the land in which we minister. This approach makes us more effective in becoming that “Bible bound in shoe leather” for those in need.

If the Lord gives you a new idea, I encourage you to embrace it. Try it. See how it works. Maybe it won’t be as fruitful as you expected, but then again, maybe it will be way more fruitful than you expected. You’ll never know if you don’t try.

God doesn’t lead everyone down the same path. Sometimes an outreach method or approach can seem a little far out there to us—something that perhaps we personally wouldn’t do—but time and again we have seen wonderful fruit borne from unconventional ministries, and we are grateful for the faith and obedience of our co-workers to put into action the things that God shows them.

The people of this vast world are reached in many different ways, and we value the great variety of possible methods and approaches to preaching the gospel because we value every unique individual who needs to be reached.

You never know how a venture will turn out unless you experiment. And if we squelch the leading of the Lord, it’s possible we’ll miss some very fruitful methods to preach the gospel. Let’s not be afraid of the fire of new ideas and tactics just because we or others have not tried them before. Let’s follow the Lord and see what light, warmth, and truth we can bring to the lost in our part of the world.

Second Timothy 1:6 says: “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you.” So let’s not put God in a box. We have natural boundaries and limitations, but God will go to great lengths to reach souls, and He never runs out of new ideas or methods. God is magnificent, and His thoughts are above ours, so serving Him in the mission can be a continual adventure, if we’re willing to follow where He leads.

When God leads you to try something new and you make a commitment and take action, you are in line to receive God’s promises, one of which is “with God all things are possible.” Being attuned to God’s voice and following His instructions places you in that realm where “all things are possible to those who believe.”3 It may take crazy faith at times to step out and obey God, but God honors faith.

Stay open to the Lord’s voice and be willing to follow, even if He leads you to take small steps. And if God has shown you to do something and you don’t have the qualities or knowledge or time needed, why not consider bringing others in to help? You can build a team. This provides opportunities for others who want to contribute. Or you can participate in a project that is already underway. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians that there is a variety of gifts, service, and activities, but we’re all one body in Christ.

Some ministries might have more evident fruit and statistics of progress, other ministries less so, and they may grow slowly. But it’s one thing just to stick to what God has called you to do. It takes time to pioneer, develop, and establish a work; there are no overnight successes, and the fruit that remains that He has called and ordained us to bear takes time. But if you work faithfully and have patience, it is possible that the method or idea that God has given you or the door He has opened for you can blossom into a beautiful work for Him.

“When God guides, and we take action to follow Him, anything is possible.” To believe that anything is possible, we need to have faith, the kind of faith Maria called “Jesus-in-Me Faith.” She described it like this:

Having faith in yourself means having faith in the Lord in you. That requires humility to acknowledge your inability, and at the same time to acknowledge the Lord’s ability to do anything through you. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”4 That kind of faith is allowing the Lord’s strength to be perfect in your weakness.5 It’s about setting no limitations on God’s power, because nothing is impossible to Him. It’s appropriating faith. It’s letting the Lord use you however He sees fit. It’s faith that is confidence in Jesus. It’s a combination of confidence in the Lord and His infallibility, and your faith to act on that confidence.

If you’re in God’s will, by faith you will be able to do anything that He calls you to do.

Originally published November 2013. Adapted and republished April 2018.
Read by Gabriel Garcia Valdivieso.

1 Mark 9:23.

2 1 Corinthians 9:22.

3 Mark 9:23.

4 Philippians 4:13 NKJV.

5 2 Corinthians 12:9.

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