As many of you know I have been involved in some kind of ministry ever since I began preaching at the age of 13. That means that for the last 31 of my 44 years I have been “in the ministry.”
Since 1997, that ministry has consisted of publishing books, writings, and audio teachings over the Internet, beginning with Watchman.Net, and later with The School of Christ. It also included traveling and speaking at churches, house churches, holding workshops in several states, hosting groups in my home, and weekly webinars.
During this time I have always reminded and warned everyone else that “the Lord of the Work” is more important than “the Work of the Lord”. Unfortunately I have not always followed my own advice, and ministry to “others” very often became an all-consuming thing.
The interesting thing is that we have spent a great deal of time helping those of you who (like us) have been burned, hurt, and confused by religion to the point that we were led to “come out of church.” Well, coming out of church is nothing compared to coming out of ministry!
God has blessed us in no small part I believe due to the Christ-centered message that we have sought to bring, both in spoken and written form. With His blessing, and with your help, The School of Christ has reached people in more than 135 countries with Christ-centered teaching, and we have touched people in ways that cannot be measured.
But now that season seems to have come to a close, and the Lord is asking me to leave the ministry in the sense that I have mostly practiced it – teaching, preaching, and persuading people.
Instead, I have been directed to return to the ministry that I had before I even preached my first sermon or wrote my first article. It’s a ministry that is TO the Lord, FOR the Lord. It’s a ministry that is primarily concerned with meeting the Lord’s Need as opposed to meeting people’s needs. It is ministering to the Lord as Samuel did, as David did, as Anna did, as the prophets and teachers in Antioch (Acts 13) did.
I’ve discussed ministering to the Lord many times previously, so I won’t repeat the full teaching here. But it is a ministry of prayer, first and foremost. And it is coming forth from the inner court from time to time to share with others as the Lord leads – not sharing as a ministry that is obligated or expected to do so, but sharing as a brother.
As part of re-orienting my spiritual life towards ministering to the Lord through prayer, I feel called to focus more on writing. I suspect that as the Lord strips all the extraneous “stuff” away that the writings will be new, fresh, timeless, anointed, and full of Life.
God’s purpose for me hasn’t changed, only the way He would have me approach it. The goal is still to “teach these things to faithful people who can teach others” (2 Tim. 2:2). But I do not have to have a ministry, or an organization, to accomplish this. I can just be who God has called me to be, write what He tells me to write, and share it when He says to share it.
All of us are “The School of Christ.” Picture yourself as a traveling School of Christ wherever you go, sharing the Life, Light and Love of God with others, focusing on Relationship, not Religion. That is simple and good enough.
If you’re willing to accept me on this basis – as a brother who writes and occasionally shares – then I’m sure it will be an interesting journey together and I think God has even more in store for us.
Karla joins me in thanking you for all the love, support, and encouragement you have shown “us” through The School of Christ over the years. I hope you will continue to pray for us, read the writings, and spread the Word to others, just as you have always done, and as God moves upon you to do so.
After all, this is the very nature of the Cross, isn’t it? With less of me, there is more of Him. When the grain of wheat stops holding on to its life and is willing to fall to the earth and die, it doesn’t stop producing fruit; instead, it brings forth even more fruit. That is the spiritual principle I have taught for years, and now is just another opportunity to put the principle into practice.
I’m not focusing on the fruit or what I can produce or do for God. I’m focusing on Jesus the Vine. Not “the Work of the Lord,” but “the Lord of the Work.”
Thank you again for your encouragement and support over the years. We would not be where we are without all of you! I look forward to what God has in store for each of us next.
I am your brother,