Ministries competing with each other? That makes about as much sense as a team of athletes playing against their own teammates during a competitive game. I don’t believe we can use these two words together in the same sentence when it comes to serving Christ. We’re either on His team or … on someone else’s team. Being on His team means all the other players on His team are TEAMMATES not opponents.
Yet some “ministries” end up competing with one another… getting territorial … even staking a claim as though there are “exclusivity rights” on Kingdom work.
Certainly there are distinctives among ministries with specific callings, missions, styles and methods … but there can be lots of similarities too. And that ought to be celebrated because it offers two growth opportunities for each ministry.
1. The opportunity to double the efforts in reaching more people for Christ.
2. The opportunity to let “iron sharpen iron” and become better in what you do.
Here are four considerations for becoming a Kingdom cooperative instead of a ministry competitor:
1. RELINQUISH … AND LEARN TO SHARE. If it was good enough in kindergarten it’s even better in Kingdom work. Consider Abraham and Lot as good examples. (Genesis 13) Abraham could have had “dibs” on the best of the land for all his enterprises but as they stood on the brow of the hill overlooking the territory Abraham said to Lot, “Why don’t you choose first and I’ll take what you don’t want.” Try that attitude the next time you start “bumping into” another ministry and watch how God will expand your own territory.
2. RELAX … YOU’RE ON THE SAME TEAM! Jesus made that point on a couple of occasions like when he rebuked the apostles for bickering over who was the greatest. (Luke 9:46-50) But they were as dull as we are because right after the sermon, John tattles on someone who wasn’t an apostle but had a deliverance ministry using Jesus name. Jesus’ reminder to Him is still directed to us. “Do not hinder him; for he who is not against us is for us.” Cheer on the “other guys” on your team who are doing similar work to what you’re doing.
3. REJOICE … CHRIST IS BEING PREACHED. Don’t waste time and effort analyzing the motives and methods of other ministries. In fact be happy and give thanks for the extra help. As Paul reminded us when commenting about some who had lousy motives in their ministry, “Who cares, as long as Christ is being proclaimed, rejoice!” (Phil 1:15-18)
4. RECOMMIT … TO GOD’S AGENDA.
It’s not the work, it’s you. God’s priority is your heart and Christ living in you and manifested to those around you. When another similar ministry shows up in your backyard and your attitude starts turning south, remember His agenda, “… to be conformed to the likeness of Christ…” (Rom 8:29)
We are NOT competitors. We are Kingdom cooperatives working together for the same cause.
Since your work, and “their” work, is all God’s work, that makes it OUR work. Don’t be distracted by logos, egos or even the results of anyone’s ministry. Remember it’s all God’s. “The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job 1:21)
So next time you’re tempted to get grabby on your territory or to criticize, or to question the motives and methods of similar ministries … Relinquish, Relax, Rejoice and Recommit.