When I came back to Barrouaille for a six-month placement, the original plan was to hold down the fort for a few months while the missionary I was replacing was in the States. This seemed ideal because four months could be spent learning from him (someone who ministered over twenty years in SVG) how ministry is done on the island.
Of course God’s plans usually don’t fit with our own. Because of some health issues and other circumstances, the missionaries return has been delayed for six-months. Meaning I’ll probably be on my own in Barrouaille.
That is at the same time a very encouraging and frightening fact.
It’s encouraging because the work of God can clearly be seen in bringing me to the island for six-months, the exact amount of time the other missionary will be gone. It also gives me plenty of work to do at Tabernacle Baptist Church in Barrouaille during my time here.
However this is also incredibly frightening since this will be the first time I’m not serving on a ministry team…in other words the buck stops with me.
This doesn’t mean I am totally alone without friends or help on the island of course (Church members and missionaries who lives about a half-hour away are a huge help). Instead this emphasizes the fact that I am now the one who launches ministries.
This is new for me since I’m used to being someone who works in the background with things like youth work, discipleship, children’s ministries, or outreach. Most of this involved my asking someone else like a fellow missionary or pastor what they think should be done, and then doing it. Being in Barrouaille on my own means taking a very different ministry philosophy.
I’m no longer the person who is asking what to do next
Instead I’m the person who TELLS PEOPLE what to do next
And it scares me to death
Among other things the Lord is leading me to start in Barrouaille
- An afternoon Bible club on my front porch with short game time using my tablet, and Bible stories
- A one on one tutoring program in the school system (particularly reading and writing help) using the Gospel
- Discipleship studies that cover major events of the Bible
- And homework help program for children on the island
As I began praying and talking to Church members about these ministries it became clear it’s MUCH easier to become involved in them after they have gotten off the ground than to actually launch them.
Launching a ministry takes lots of hard work
- Like putting together a strategy or plan of action
- Approaching the right people who can help, and getting their assistance
- Bringing things under control in the first few weeks (they are usually chaotic)
- Taking responsibility for whatever goes wrong
- And making the hard decisions
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why people prefer to work behind the scenes 🙂
In a way I believe the Lord planned things this way because it forces me to step out of my comfort zone and become a true leader. One who plants ministries that not only meet physical needs of those on the island, but their spiritual needs as well. One who picks up a shovel and digs into the stony ground of people s hearts instead of waiting for someone else to do it.
And most importantly someone who obeys the call of God even though it scares him to death.