I know this post proposes a ministry lifestyle that is difficult to establish and maintain, but I state my position that I’ve taught my students for more than two decades: you should never do ministry alone. Here’s why having someone with you whenever you’re doing ministry matters:
- You’re always training somebody. Jesus and Paul continually trained others, and so should we. When someone is with you whenever you’re doing ministry, you’re doing training in such activities as evangelism, visitation, discipleship, teaching, and ministry.
- There is wisdom in numbers. Jesus sent out disciples in pairs (Mark 6:7, Luke 10:1), so there must be some reasoning behind that move. In pairs are responsibility, encouragement, and protection.
- You’re less likely to fall if someone is with you. Many of our strongest struggles and potential failures gain power when we’re alone. Fight the enemy alone, and you’re likely to fall.
- Accountability is built in to pairs. If someone is always with you, that someone is also always watching your life. Most of us need somebody whose admiration and respect for us should compel us to fight temptation.
- You provide mentoring and training without adding another program. Jesus made disciples by mentoring the original twelve. Paul mentored Timothy. Following their model requires us to invest in somebody else – and that somebody might be that person who does ministry with you anyway.
- It provides others an opportunity to be with you. Most church members who love their pastoral staff appreciate time with them. Even taking somebody with you to make a 10-minute hospital visit might provide that person more time with you than most others ever get.
- It allows you to shepherd some of your flock at a more intimate level. You can learn a lot about your church members when you spend time with a few of them each week. You can minister to them even when the two of you are ministering to somebody else.
- You have an immediate prayer partner by your side. We never know what we’ll face each day in ministry. Knowing that somebody is praying for us on the spot increases our faith and confidence.
- It can help you fight discouragement. If you spend time doing ministry with 2-3 believers each week and see the Lord’s doing something in their lives, you can put up with a lot of messiness in the rest of the church.
- You might raise up future shepherds. You never know – somebody who hangs out with you in ministry might find his long-term calling in that role.
What obstacles do you see to implementing this proposal? Let us hear from you.