How many of you have ever made your way through a maze or completed the same sort of activity in paper? The interesting thing about mazes is that they are full of barriers. In fact, it wouldn’t be considered a maze if the barriers didn’t exist!
Our goal, of course, is to get to enter in from one door and either find a central point or find our way out through the second door. As we walk through the maze barriers keep us from seeing where that destination is. So we must keep trekking around one corner after another trying to make sense of our surroundings so that we can progress towards the goal.
Many times ministry feels like this as well. Our goal in ministry is to reach the lost and help them grow in Christ. But the entire journey seems to be one barrier after another. Many times we wonder whether the dream that God put in our heart is even possible!
But it seems that God allows these barriers in our ministry lives as a way of creating opportunities and challenging our faith. As we come around each corner of the maze, we have to decide whether we will do the ministry set before us and continue even when we hit a wall we did not expect.
A great example of this is Paul’s life. After sitting in a prison for several years, he finally was put on a boat to Rome. Imagine what he must have felt when the ship floundered and they had to swim for an island! But Paul’s words ahead of that swim are telling: “But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed.” Acts 27:22
What an amazing ministry opportunity. What looked like a barrier – a huge storm – became a ministry to the soldiers, prisoners and those on the island where they sought refuge.
One place in ministry today where we see many barriers is in the area of Bible Poverty. Everywhere we look there is a barrier that seems to keep people from engaging with Scripture. It might be language, culture, access or indifference – all barriers that seem to tower above us as we reach out. That is the theme of the Advance Paper for the Lausanne Congress written by the Scripture in Mission Multiplex Resource Team. The team has identified many of the key barriers and developed the paper around the major priorities we must have as the Church in this area.
Participate: Please take a minute to read “Major Priorities in Eradicating Bible Poverty” and think through the priorities they have defined to overcome the barriers that exist. Make sure to leave some thoughts as these Advance Papers need input from our Global Conversation.
Engage: Sit down in your next quiet time with the Lord and make a list of the barriers that exist in your own ministry. Use that list as an ongoing prayer tool as you seek to overcome these barriers in Christ.
Own: Challenge others who are involved in similar ministry to yours to consider the barriers that they are facing. Share how you began praying for victory in the face of barriers and encourage others to do the same.