Eager, and bundled up, I grabbed two gloves out of my drawer as Evye and I dashed outside into the snow. After a few minutes I decided to wear the gloves so I grabbed one and started putting it on my right hand. No, this one is for my left hand. This one is … also for my left hand? Looking down at my gloved hands, I giggled then laughed outright.
Two left-hand gloves. Perfect! Considering how long it took to get suited up and out the door, I wasn’t about to pause the fun just to scrounge around for the right glove. So I decided to make do.
My snowballs weren’t perfectly round and when I tried to nail PJ, I missed by three feet! He laughed and shook his head. “I was throwing with my left hand,” I explained feebly, holding up my right.
Wearing two left gloves didn’t inhibit my enjoyment of our playtime in the snow, but it got me thinking about what it takes to be effective in tribal church planting. Yeah, I realize that may seem like a random connection. But PJ and I are gearing up for tribal church planting in Colombia and just about any random moment in a day can direct our thoughts toward our goal.
So, effectiveness in ministry, right?
For NTM missionaries, effectiveness in church planting is not a certain number of tribal people saved, or church buildings built.
Effectiveness is measured in the hearts of God’s ever-growing family. It is in those who are not only freed by the Gospel, but also prepared by the working of the Holy Spirit to push past the inhibiting fear of cultural taboos and spiritual darkness, past shame, past imprisoning habits of sin, and enabled to have a powerful influence in their community as part of the Body of Christ.
If it was merely about meeting a quota, then I’d endeavor to achieve it in my own strength. I’m just being honest. After all, NTM trains their missionaries like no other organization and has a network of consultants and support ministries to assist tribal church planters through every stage in the process.
And PJ and I, we’ve got some abilities, some talent. Sure. But what would we have to show for our efforts? A little Ryan-esque church, filled with little PJs and Donnas who didn’t know how to follow God on their own? Yikes.
May I never think that I am more than a singular, and by God’s grace functioning, part of the Body of Christ. Whatever my ordained purpose, I have no glory of my own. I am His and His Glory is my hope.
Aware of my innate ability to get in the way and be ignorant of God’s purpose at work in the world, I pray fervently for His work in me to go on undeterred. So I cling to the Lord … with both of my left hands.