Now Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that he was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John— although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples. (John 4:1, 2 NIV)
When launching ministry there are so many strategies that work. Just like launching a business there are so many models to follow. I can remember reading church planting books till I my mind was packed with so much vision and possible direction that it was over flowing. One author swore that a mailer and starting with two services was the best way to start big! I read one story of a church plant pastor that found out his staff had purchased a sign for the new building, he responded by going out to the parking lot and ripping it down saying that the only way the church was going to grow was through word of mouth! I think the healthy place to land is somewhere between those two models, at the same time one can not ignore the fact we all want to be apart of something that is growing, gaining ground toward what ever goal that is placed before them.
The growth of Jesus’ ministry was in fact gaining ground. We don’t know how long John the Baptist was ministering in the desert, but what we do know is it only took four chapters of the gospel of John for Jesus’ ministry to surpass in numbers. The key to this was Jesus gave the role of blessed baptizer away. He was all about giving away to gain ground for the cause of the kingdom. Jesus was willing to risk the status of his ministry by empowering untrained, unseasoned, and uneducated fisherman do the work of the ministry. We desire not to grow in numbers but to gain ground for the Kingdom of God.
I pray that whatever status I think I have in the eyes of men I give up for the cause of Christ. May think more about what I can give away then what I think I should gain. I pray that team HOPE would know they are the ones to baptize, lead, and change the world. I pray for safe travels for my wife and kids. I love you Lord and I desire my life to sing out loud that love.