Since this brings us to the end of the questions that you asked for, I saved this great one for last!
As I travel, I get the privilege to cross paths with so many wonderful women. Often, our conversations lead into this question, “How do I get started in ministry?“or “How did you start in ministry?” It has always been a difficult question for me to answer because I think many want there to be this magic formula that, when worked just right, can help them change the world. The truth is that there is no formula. Changing the world is completely conceived and born out of relationship with Jesus. As we walk with Him and He places a dream or vision inside of us to change the world, we must remain extremely close to Him, so He can bring the vision to pass through us.
However, what I can say is, based on the way Jesus developed His disciples in preparation to change the world, there are definitely some prerequisites that needed to be established prior to their launching out on this mission.
1. Character Development. Once Jesus called His disciples, the first thing He did was taught them the character that would be required of them in order to usher in a whole new Kingdom to earth. It will be the same for you. God will not fill your calendar before He first fills you with His character. I will never forget when Dale and I started in ministry, we got so frustrated because the phone wasn’t ringing for us to go and speak. We had surrendered to His call on our lives, so why wasn’t He working things out? Dale distinctly heard the Spirit say, “I am more interested in your character than your calendar.”
God Is More Interested In Your Character Than Your Calendar
Oh, how many times I have seen a person so zealous to change the world that they jumped out there, only to see their dreams plummet to the ground, because they did not allow God to work some of His character in them. When the trying times came, they were not prepared to handle what life threw at them and they became dismayed, disillusioned and discouraged, finding in the end great defeat. When God puts a vision in your heart, be patient, and let Him grow the character in you that you will need as you move forward in your ministry.
2. Keen Observation. Soon after Jesus taught the disciples about their character, He then came down from the mountainside and healed three people: 1) He touched the leper and healed him, 2) He spoke, and the centurion’s servant was healed, and 3) He grabbed the hand of Peter’s mother-in-law and she was healed and began to serve them. Jesus demonstrated love in action, humility, compassion, goodness, and the power He would soon grant them. He even showed that healing would look different with each circumstance. He taught them about faith, surrender, and authority. He had said it, and now He was living it before them. Jesus said, “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me.” One of the best things you can do when being led into a certain area of ministry is to find another seasoned ministry that aligns with what the Lord has put in your heart and go observe them. Observation is key to preparation. Learn from them. Learn what to do, what not to do, and how to repond in certain situations.
Observation Is Key To Preparation
I had SO much to learn about ministry when we first started out. I look back now and see that all the testing of my faith, the trying of my patience, and the triumping over my doubts and fears, were all a part of a much-needed process that I had to learn by observing other ministries, that were much further along than me.
3. Divine Companionship. In Luke 5:3-5, it says, “Jesus got into the boat belonging to Simon and asked him to put out a little from shore. And sitting down, He taught the people from the boat. When Jesus had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Launch out into deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” “Master,” Simon replied, “we have worked through the night without catching anything. But because You say so, I will let down the nets.” Where was Jesus when Simon launched out? The Bible says that Jesus was in the boat! They put out from the shore so He could be heard and seen by more on the shore and then it says that He told Simon to launch out. It does not say that Simon first brought Jesus back to shore before launching out. Here’s the principle: When you go, you must go accompanied by the God who called you in the first place. If God called you, He will also equip you, but will also need to stay close to guide you.
When You Go, You Must Go Accompanied
As I wrote in the Living Deeper book, “In July 2004, God said to me, “I’m calling out a remnant of people who will follow Me.” Truthfully, I had no idea what this meant, why it was said to me, or how in the world this would be fulfilled. For the next seven years, I zealously took matters into my own hands. Though my desires were sincere, I had grown impatient with God. I developed unrealistic expectations that were outside of God’s timetable and out from under His protection and anointing. And though some great things happened that advanced the kingdom, it never felt as if I ever reached my “sweet spot.”
It took seven years for God to develop my character, to help me learn from keenly observing other ministries, and to learn to waltz in the rhythm of His Divine companionship before Living Deeper Ministries came to be.
So you want to change the world? Go for it! But in the meantime, let the Father take the necessary time to mature you. Be patient and wait while He prepares you for the fulfillment of your purpose. Don’t rush Him. His timing is always perfect.
You are loved.