I’m guessing you’re good at what you do.
Likely, you’re in the position you’re in because you’re gifted and experienced, possibly the best on your church staff at what you do.
So, it might sound strange when I tell you that you need to do that thing a little less this year.
My goal in this post is to convince you that you need to invite someone else to do what you do.
I’ve been thinking about this concept since I began studying Acts 11 and the church in Antioch a few weeks ago.
The story is essentially this: As the first Jesus followers are scattered from Jerusalem by persecution, some travel 300 miles north to a big Roman city called Antioch, where they begin to share the message of Jesus with Greeks in the city. Many of those in Antioch respond and become Jesus followers. Word gets back to Jerusalem of a growing multi-ethnic Jesus community in Antioch. The church leaders in Jerusalem send Barnabas up north to check things out.
Barnabas is the right choice.
Unlike most of the leadership in Jerusalem, Barnabas was ethnically Jewish but from outside of Palestine. He was raised in Cyprus.
He’s culturally bilingual. He relates well to the Greeks and Jews.
When he arrives, he begins discipling the new believers with great effect.
Many people are coming to faith and joining the church.
Put yourself in Barnabas’ shoes. The entire experience had to be exhilarating.
He’s making waves in a huge and vital Roman city.
It’s fun to lead a growing ministry. It’s so encouraging when your church is growing quickly. It’s confirming to be the leader and the expert.
The brand-new believers are looking to him for direction. If you’re anything like me, I would have loved to be Barnabas in this scenario.
What Barnabas does next shows that he’s more about the mission than he is about himself.
He travels to Tarsus, tracks down Saul—the Pharisee and persecutor, and brings him back to Antioch, where they minister together. He deliberately included Saul.
I believe this had to have ruffled some feathers. That guy? Really? Do you know his history?
Their co-leadership is incredibly effective, though. For a year, they taught “great numbers of people.”
It’s this idea of including others I want to emphasize.
Because Barnabas included Saul, the ministry grew exponentially.
God would call the two of them to travel throughout the Mediterranean world, planting churches.
Saul would become Paul, and you know the rest of the story. Exponential impact.
Let’s put it this way: Often, our greatest impact is not determined by what we do but by who we include.
What if Barnabas had chosen the spotlight instead of the mission?
What if, amid an exploding ministry, he said, “I’ve got this” instead of “Who can I include?”
It’s not what we do; it’s who we include that determines our greatest impact.
Here’s the question: Who are you going to include?
Who do you need to invite to do what you do? Who do you need to invest in or mentor? Who do you need to empower and unleash?
If you volunteer in student ministry, do you ever have thoughts like, “She would be so good at this.” Or “He would love this.”
Invite them...include them!
If you see a gift in someone in your church, invest in that gift. Help that person develop that God-given gift.
Our churches need this, especially when it comes to younger people.
Research by the Growing Young revealed the connection between empowering young people to lead and attracting and retaining the younger generations in our churches.
Their phrase for this is Keychain Leadership.
It’s the willingness to entrust keys to the building to young people.
It’s a key component of empowerment.
When I think back on my journey toward ministry, I realize that being invited and included was critical to confirming my calling and gifting.
When I was in high school, I had a youth pastor who invited me to teach my peers.
He was by far the better teacher; however, he recognized something in me and included me in the ministry.
That confirmed something important in me.
I’m guessing you have a similar story in your background.
Perhaps one of the most impactful questions you can ask yourself in this season is, “Who will I include?”