Last night I went to hear Vaughn Roberts, who was speaking at a meeting of the Latimer Fellowship. A hugely encouraging night, not least because of the 200+ people who were there, and the large numbers of people in their 20s and 30s.
Vaughn was speaking about releasing the Word - about how we keep the Word central in our ministries, but ensure that we are doing things which keep it central. He spoke in the areas of time (setting aside people who minister the word to minister the word), of contexts (not just restricting word ministry to church - and the way in which we've sometimes turned the 'go' of the great commission into a 'come to church'), and people. He said much on all three areas which was valuable and helpful, but I was particularly struck by one of his last points. In his stress on expanding ministries, and drawing people into ministry, he spoke of recruit - train - deploy. For those of us from Sydney this is a common progression.
But there was an English addition - maintain. Recruit - train - deploy - maintain. Maintain those who have gone into ministry. Meet with them, plan for that meeting, make it a priority. Ensure that they don't drift or become disillusioned after 5, 10, 15 years of hard gospel work. And what struck me, although it wasn't elaborated on, was the way in which this maintenance is not only for newbies like myself, but indeed for all in ministry. For we're encouraged to keep on going as we meet together, to spur each other on, to share the joys and the difficulties. There is a danger of comparison, but the joys and benefits outweigh this (see here). Maintain, people, maintain.