By Pastor George Sawyer
Systems and infrastructure are often a love/hate relationship for many in ministry today. We all understand the value of efficiency and effectiveness in being good stewards in our field of calling, and yet this area can be a real struggle for many. We need to understand why this is a challenge and how we can do a better job with implementing systems that produce for God’s kingdom.
One of the primary reasons that we sometimes come up short in this area is do to the influence of our giftings. Most of us that are called into vocational ministry seem to fall in one of two main categories in our gifting and passion. Either we are very people oriented and good at shepherding and people skills or we tend to be strong as visionaries and seeing the “big picture”.
Neither of these turn to systems and infrastructure as their primary response to ministry. But the good news is that these skills and values can be developed. I know, because I have learned to implement systems in my own ministry even when this was not my first instinct or passion and our church is reaping the benefits.
Just because systems are not my natural strength does not mean they are unimportant. In fact, they are indispensable if we are going to maintain the harvest of souls we have led to Christ. Making disciples, building growing congregations and raising up leaders will demand “closed loop” systems that are reflexive and measurable. The fact that this may not be your strength is just a reminder that we need others and it also provides an opportunity for someone else’s gift to get a chance to flourish.
When Jesus approached Peter in Luke 5 to ask for the use of his boat to speak to the gathering crowd verse 2 says that the fishermen were “mending” their nets. After fishing all night and in need of sleep there was a job that first must be completed. Their nets must be washed and mended, sown back together if there were tears or rips. There must be preparation if the next catch of fish were to be maintained. The only other occurance of this word in the entire New Testament is found in Ephesians 4:12. Here after giving the five fold ministry offices of the church in verse 11, we are given their job description. They are, WE are to “prepare” or “equip” the church for their works of service. We mend, weave together, create structures that will maintain the harvest that God so desperately desires to send.
Finally, the development and implementation of systems may just be one of our greatest steps of faith! Developing systems that are in place to receive and maintain the harvest that we are praying for may be the sign that Heaven is waiting for to release a great outpouring!
In other words, if you are praying for rain and truly believe that God will answer, then you should take your umbrella with you.