Missions is Not Trying to Open a Door God has Closed
Today I get to say something I’ve been waiting to say for over fourteen months…..
I’m going back to prison!
(a traditional joke that used to be shared once a week on my family texting group).
In December 2020 I visited the prison to drop off a pair of shoes for an inmate. While there a prison guard, and two prisoners wished me a merry Christmas. If I knew that I wouldn’t return till March 2022 I would have stayed longer.
Understandably the growth of Covid kept people from visiting the prison since growth in there would spread among almost all of the inmates. It was frustrating though as Covid cases went down, and protocols were ended that the prison stayed closed.
It was annoying on my part, but I truly felt for the men who genuinely looked forward to our time together every week. It was getting to the point before Covid where they could pretty much run things themselves (one brought the message). But I’ve become concerned many of them have stopped growing since we left.
I am very grateful that the Lord has re-opened this door of ministry. And for this reminder that nobody can open a door of ministry God has closed.
Day to day missions work involves using ministry opportunities that God has given. Using these “open doors of ministry” is incredibly important because the Lord can close those ministry doors. This can come in an extreme way like Covid shutting down the prisons, but it can also come from lessened ministry effectiveness, or God leading you towards another ministry.
When God closes the door of ministry the Biblical response isn’t frustration, but faith that He will open the door again if it is His Will.
In other words….you cannot force open a door that God has closed!
Technically you could force this door open by continuing to do the work when you know it isn’t what the Lord wants. But all of that effort will be wasted! It is far better to step back, and find a door that God has opened. The beautiful thing is that often when we give up trying to force the door open, God will open it Himself!
Please pray for me and my friends in the prison ministry team as we begin meeting again a week from Wednesday
- Pray the men will come
- For excitement as the ministry begins again
- For unity among the men, and our team members
- That I along with other men can give them strong teaching from Scripture
- and for discipleship opportunities
May our ministry bring Glory to the God who re-opened the door