One of our values in Cru is fruitfulness. In order to stay fruitful, we need to periodically reinvent our strategy or its elements. When caught in a situation where old methods of ministry are no longer working, it might be very devastating for us as staff members. It could also affect morale or our volunteers and the commitment of our supporters. So, to remain fruitful we need periodic research of what we are doing in order to be able to invent something new and bring improve.
We need to look at the data and discover where we are suffering, what is not working and why. While we do research it is always good to have good examples, and for me the first good examples that come to my mind are in the Bible, to look at Jesus and early church to learn how they were doing that.
In Christianity order to improve ministry we need to go to the Bible, study on a certain issue or topic, seek for wisdom, draw eternal principles of ministry and apply it into our new circumstances.
It looks very simple but it is not easy. It requires from us to set aside time for doing some research to assess the state of our ministries. Some people might think why to do a research if we already know everything. Some might think Jesus was not doing any research, then why shall we do?
Did Jesus research? I would like to provoke your thoughts by saying that to my opinion there are a few situations in the Scripture that make me think that Jesus did research! I know that to some of you that might sound surprising.
When I first asked myself that question immediately one of a few situations came to my mind. It is recorded in Mark 12:41-44.
“Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.
Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”
When we think of this situation, we see Jesus doing an unusual thing. Jesus sat down! In the Gospel accounts usually, we do not see Jesus being still and quiet, we rather see him standing, speaking, teaching, walking, performing miracles, eating and talking but not so much sitting.
He sat down in a strategic place from where he could see the treasury box. It gives the impression that He saw a significant number of people giving their offerings.
Then he draws a conclusion. He concluded who gave the most and tells that to his disciples. They were shocked because he used totally different measuring method that we normally do in such a situation. When dealing with money at the time of Jesus, worth was established by the material of the coin and weight of the material. You could asses the worth of what was being given by the noise coins were making. Amount given by the widow was not impressing. In today currency it would be 1/32 of daily wage. In my country it would be about 5 zlotych. But Jesus measured it not by the worth of the currency, but by the size of the sacrifice she made. She gave to God today’s dinner, and tomorrows breakfast and lunch, probably even more.
Jesus applied to this situation completely new method of assessing value. He showed us what is valued in Gods eyes. Jesus not only used this way of measurement but also applied supernatural knowledge He had about the situation. Then He concluded that out of the crowd who was present in the temple at this time giving offerings, the poor widow made the biggest sacrifice.
We know that Jesus as Son of God could said that without any research – why he sat down, looked at people and draw conclusion? I like to see it as he wanted to teach us how to do research! How to evaluate things from the Kingdom perspective. So, when we plan or evaluate our efforts to build spiritual movements, we use right kind of measurement methods. Jesus also is showing to us that we need to set aside some time and effort to do research of the situation we are in. When we neglect that step, we could plan a lot of activities, we might work harder and harder, but we might see smaller and smaller fruit out of them.
What about you, what have you found helpful in terms of assessing your ministry? What has God taught you in this important aspect of our ministry?