Four Lessons From Four Years (Part 2)
Last time, I began sharing some of the main lessons I have learned through the first four years of my service as a church ministries representative for The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry.
In Part One, I wrote about the need to multiply our ministry’s effectiveness, and also regarding the importance of relationships in ministry. I would like to share two more lessons in this concluding installment.
The first relates to the necessity we have to make a greater and more intentional and effective use of media.
During the COVID-19 shutdowns, and ever since, we have all become accustomed to doing more of everything online—including shopping, attending meetings and even participating in church activities.
Last time, the lockdown gave us the opportunity to go online—beginning from scratch. Many other ministries were in the very same boat, and it was highly understandable. The next time—and I do believe there will be a next time, and that it is a matter of when, not if—we face a national or global crisis of a similar nature (be it real or manufactured), we need to be ready for it. The time for practice runs is officially over!
When such an event occurs, I want to be ready to go live—sharing a Biblical and prophetic perspective on the issue at hand. My hope is that God, in grace, will always allow us the opportunity to minister through the use of technology as long as He leaves us on this Earth, before the rapture. In this vein, I have written at some length in the past on my enthusiasm for SermonAudio’s Vault project, which is intended to alleviate the threats of cancellation and cyberattack.
In the meantime, and in general, we want to improve, upgrade and expand our offerings online and through the wise use of media.
Lord willing, as long as He provides, we’ll be in a church somewhere on Sunday morning to minister to a live congregation. However, we can expand the impact of that ministry strategically, even exponentially, all week long by means of technology—and I believe that this will, by necessity, have to be a growing mark of any vital ministry. This will be true for local churches as well as for those in a specialized area of service such as mine.
The Lord gave us numerous blessings along these lines in the past year—including the wonderful privilege of recording 12 one-minute radio spots that aired on numerous Christian radio stations for the holidays. This was an amazing learning experience that we hope to continue to build upon.
The fourth and final lesson—from our first four years of ministry with The Friends of Israel—is that fundraising … can be fun.
Truth be told, the idea of raising support—or, to be more honest, a lack of faith regarding the concept of raising support—almost kept me from the amazing blessings I have experienced during the past four years.
Never would I have thought that I could possibly thrive in such a position. But, as we’ve heard so often, God always provides for that which He arranges in His sovereign plan. We have the honor of watching Him do that over and over again—in the most unexpected ways, sometimes through the most unlikely people. It is a source of spiritual adrenaline and it never grows old.
Fundraising for ministry is humbling, yet hopeful; difficult, but delightful. It is both entrepreneurial and exciting. Of course, I am basing this analysis on the experience I’ve had with FOI—a wonderful organization in this regard. And I trust that this background has prepared me to offer some encouragement and insight to others.
Dear friend, if the Lord is calling you to serve Him through a position that requires raising financial support, do not hesitate to follow His call simply out of fear that you are inadequate for such a task. He will go before you, and He will provide. In fact, from my vantage point, it would take far greater faith to entrust my temporal future to the care of some secular employer than it does for me to place it in the strong and loving hands of my heavenly Father, and to share my burdens with His wonderful people.
Well, these are four things I have learned in four years of service with FOI. I certainly do not claim to have all the answers, but in my mind these four lessons are complementary to each other, and I hope they are helpful to you. I would love your feedback, as well.
I conclude with this rhetorical question from the Apostle Paul: “Who is sufficient for these things?” (2 Cor. 2:16). Certainly not me—yet with God’s help, it is a wonder to see how He can use even “earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us” (2 Cor. 4:7).
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Paul Scharf 2023 bio
Paul J. Scharf (M.A., M.Div., Faith Baptist Theological Seminary) is a church ministries representative for The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, based in Columbus, WI, and serving in the Midwest. For more information on his ministry, visit sermonaudio.com/pscharf or foi.org/scharf, or email email@example.com.
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