I recall a particular occasion when we were having church service prior to a feeding program in a small village. Some men on motorcycles rode into the village and created lots of noise which disrupted our service for a while. On another occasion, the pastor of the small village church we support was resting under a thatched hut after church service. A motorcade of some 12 individuals stormed the church compound, revving their engines like crazy. They saw the pastor resting under the hut, stopped by the hut and asked him where the pastor was, in threatening voices. They didn’t know he was the one they were looking for. Knowing who they were, the pastor told them the pastor they were looking for had just left the village to the next village on a motorcycle.
The group left suddenly at top speed to chase after the pastor they were looking for. Besides machetes, motorcycles and physical threats, we also have had to deal with people who pulled out AK47s and pistols on us. One such occasion involved a group of illegal topsoil poachers who stormed a village whose residents we support. Members of this group came with bulldozers, tipper trucks and guns, an AK47 and a pistol. They dared anyone to stop them, and began their illegal sand winning operation. By the end of the day, they had scooped up the top soil of the land, dug around houses and other structures, and left deep craters behind. All I could do was hide behind a tree to stealthily take pictures. The dangers and difficulties we face in our ministerial lives have taught us these profound lessons:
1. God does not call us into vineyards where we will have it smooth sailing. There is always a form of opposition waiting for us. Be prepared for it.
2. As missionaries or ministers, we should always see our vineyards as battlefields. This outlook will help us put on the whole armor of God to engage the enemy at all fronts.
3. Missionary work is not for the fainthearted. Gird up your loins and operate like a lion, acting wisely and fearing no foe in the jungle.
4. Wherever God sends you to start his work, understand that, that place is already held by the enemy. You cannot go and simply start operating, without first binding the strongman in that place. Therefore fast and pray before venturing into enemy zone.
5. Missionary work is Kingdom building. God doesn’t send us to build our own small kingdoms and comfort zones. Focus on building the Kingdom of God wherever you are sent to.
6. Pride, money and influence, these are the three things that can easily destroy your Ministry, leading to your being divinely pulled out of the vineyard.
7. The number one all-important person we serve in Ministry, besides God, is our beneficiary. Focus on using majority of all resources to help beneficiaries, and not yourself or even volunteers.
8. As a mission leader, always keep your sword and swordsmanship in readiness to ward off the wiles and fiery darts of the devil. Pray always and be ready in season and out of season to defend your flock with the Word (Sword).
9. No army goes to war at its own expense. God will always provide your needs for Ministry if your heart is right.
10. Find time to rest your body. Don’t burn out, knowing that there are five priorities in life: your relationship with God, your relationship with your family, your relationship with your church/ministry/work, giving and rest. Follow these priorities and you will always succeed in everything your hand finds to do or in those things God sends you to do.
Hope these 10 lessons will help you in your Ministry and personal life.
As you become successful in Ministry don’t let the success get into your head. As support comes to you from donors and as you generate significant income from some other activities, know that it’s not your money. Be a good steward. And as you become popular in Ministry, don’t lord it over people like some do.