In February I was in Peru where I was working with youth leaders from 4 different countries at a leadership summit. The countries included Costa Rica, Peru, Colombia and Ecuador. Part of the work that I do for Nexus International involves finding, equipping, empowering and encouraging indigenous youth leaders to reach young people in their culture with the gospel. A very large part of the work that we do with these leaders involves deep, relational discipleship with them. A big part of the work that happens is going on within their own hearts. So many of these young leaders have such a heart to reach the next generation, but don’t know where to begin or how to move forward with their vision. You see, these young men don’t have access to the resources that we do here in North America. Where we have access to leadership training, entrepreneurship classes, ministry training, etc. most of these men don’t have those resources. So many of them have a vision and then try to accomplish this vision out of their own power and understanding. Some will make it a very long way under that alone, but where they begin to run into trouble is their lack of healthy community and healthy ministry lifestyle. So many of these young leaders will give all that they have, including their own resources and money, to invest into the next generation and share the gospel with them. But, the one area where they fail to plan is that of adequate encouragement and truth being spoken into their lives. Many of these leaders will quit ministry all together within 2 years. That’s where we come in. We keep youth leaders alive and in ministry long term.
One particular verse that has stood out to me when reflecting on my time with these leaders is from 2 Corinthians 4:16-18. The passages states: “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal”
This is so very encouraging to me for one reason. So many times we want to look at the fruit of someones ministry and we want to focus our eyes on what we can see, and that is a very unhealthy way to view things. We must focus on the heart change happening within those in which we lead, for that is the most important part. If we can teach them to focus on abiding and being rooted in Christ, fruit comes inevitably. Psalm 1 teaches us this truth, and so does Jeremiah 17 and John 15. It’s all throughout scripture. As we train these young men and women to focus their effort and personal relationship with Jesus and then reproducing their faith through a few disciples, that is where we make a difference in this life. If we can teach a few men to be faithful, rooted and abiding in Christ and then teach them to tell others how to do the same, we will reach billions of people.
So when you are thinking that your ministry is unfruitful, just look back to Christ and what He promised through our abiding in Him. It will come, in its season, and it will be glorifying to God and reproducible. Jesus changed the world with 11 men, how can you be faithful to that same model with even 4 or 5?