Our study on CONNECTING continues today.  We are examining how to best fulfill our MISSION as we enter into this new year.  In order to pursue the goals of evangelism and discipleship, we must be CONNECTED.
First, we must be connected with God for the spiritual strength that only he provides
Second, we must be connected with others because it is through relationships that we serve the Lord together and proclaim the gospel.
Today we are examining Connecting with MINISTRY

This message will answer the question, “How do I get involved in ministry?”

You can discover your place of ministry by taking these five steps
–    Passion
–    Prayer
–    Pastors
–    People
–    Produce.  (By this I mean the FRUIT that is born through your ministry)

There are needs all over the world.  How do we know where to help?
It is where the Lord leads us through the church family.
EVERY Christian is a minister!!!
CLERGY/ LAITY terminology is unbiblical. Such terminology implies that the Clergy are the professionals, and the laity are the amateurs. BUT the word ‘laity’ comes from the Greek laos which simply means ‘people.’ That’s who we are: the people of God doing the work of God.

One of the best examples in the Bible of a person connected with ministry is – Timothy
We read of Paul’s love for Timothy and his confidence in him in the following passage:
“I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. I have no one else like him, who takes a genuine interest in your welfare. For everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel. I hope, therefore, to send him as soon as I see how things go with me. And I am confident in the Lord that I myself will come soon. But I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs. For he longs for all of you and is distressed because you heard he was ill. Indeed he was ill, and almost died. But God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, to spare me sorrow upon sorrow. Therefore I am all the more eager to send him, so that when you see him again you may be glad and I may have less anxiety. Welcome him in the Lord with great joy, and honor men like him, because he almost died for the work of Christ, risking his life to make up for the help you could not give me.” (Philippians 2:19–30, NIV84)

1.    Tim, native of Lystra. Probably saved on 1st miss journey.  Acts 16:1-3“He came to Derbe and then to Lystra, where a disciple named Timothy lived, whose mother was a Jewess and a believer, but whose father was a Greek. 2 The brothers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of him. 3 Paul wanted to take him along on the journey, so he circumcised him because of the Jews who lived in that area, for they all knew that his father was a Greek.

2.    Tim traveled with Paul and Silas on 2nd MJ.

3.    Tim remained in Thessalonica   (Acts 17:10) “As soon as it was night, the brothers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. On arriving there, they went to the Jewish synagogue.”

4.    Timothy then joined P&S in Berea (Acts 17:14)

5.    Tim used as messenger between Paul and church of Thess “We sent Timothy, who is our brother and God’s fellow worker in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith,” (1 Thessalonians 3:2, NIV84)  “But Timothy has just now come to us from you and has brought good news about your faith and love. He has told us that you always have pleasant memories of us and that you long to see us, just as we also long to see you.” (1 Thessalonians 3:6)

6.    Tim used as messenger between Paul and Corinth.  1 Corinthians 4:17 “For this reason I am sending to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.”   1 Corinthians 16:10    “If Timothy comes, see to it that he has nothing to fear while he is with you, for he is carrying on the work of the Lord, just as I am.”

7.    Tim next appears in Ephesus  Acts 19:22   “He sent two of his helpers, Timothy and Erastus, to Macedonia, while he stayed in the province of Asia a little longer.”
8.    Tim remained in Macedonia, accompanied Paul to Corinth from which Paul writes Romans  Romans 16:21 Timothy, my fellow worker, sends his greetings to you, as do Lucius, Jason and Sosipater, my relatives.
9.    Tim and 6 others spearhead Paul’s journey to Troas  Acts 20:4–5 “He was accompanied by Sopater son of Pyrrhus from Berea, Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica, Gaius from Derbe, Timothy also, and Tychicus and Trophimus from the province of Asia. 5 These men went on ahead and waited for us at Troas”

10.    Tim comforts Paul during arrest in Rome, from where Paul writes Eph, Col, Phil, Phile.
a.    Colossians 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,
b.    Philemon 1 Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, To Philemon our dear friend and fellow worker,
c.    Philippians 1:1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons:

11.    Tim was highly regarded by Paul.  Paul hoped to release Tim from Rome to visit the church at Philippi.  Philippians 2:19–24 (where we started!)

12.    Tim travels to Ephesus  1 Timothy 1:3 As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer”

13.    Paul in jail again, this time to be executed, asks for Tim.  2 Timothy 4:9 “Do your best to come to me quickly”

We see Timothy traveling throughout the world.  We might say that Timothy was the world’s first Frequent Friar!

How did Timothy become such a valuable minister for Christ?

Let’s go back to those 5 “P’s” we mentioned earlier.  The first is Passion
We should begin to think about ministering where the Lord has given us a BURDEN.
EXAMPLE.  Paul was passionate about the Thessalonian church.  He loved these people.  We see that reflected in 1 Thess 3:6-10 “But Timothy has just now come to us from you and has brought good news about your faith and love. He has told us that you always have pleasant memories of us and that you long to see us, just as we also long to see you. Therefore, brothers, in all our distress and persecution we were encouraged about you because of your faith. For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord. How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you? Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith.”

As you think about pursuing the ministries or needs that you are passionate about, remember some practical advice.
Don’t get involved in everything.
Do what you do with EXCELLENCE
There is a balance:
CORRECT:  “There is a need I can meet”
INCORRECT: “I must meet every need” This will prevent us from getting burned out

Missionary Del Benner reminded me once, “before talking to people about God, talk to God about people”

When there is something that you are passionate about, the next step is to talk with the PASTORS.
The pastors provide the spiritual leadership for the local church
PASTORS guide our efforts.
EXAMPLE… Preaching, Counseling, Discipleship, Evangelism
They are given oversight of the RESOURCES of the church (stewardship)
That is why…. We don’t offer new missionaries the opportunity to “present” to the church.

If your ministry is something for the entire church, the pastors must be involved in oversight.  The next step is to get the PEOPLE involved.
Share your burden with others.
You might not feel powerful or significant.  But together, we are a mighty army for God.  Vance Havner once said, “Snowflakes are frail, but if enough of them stick together, they can stop traffic.”
Let your PASSION motivate others to serve
But don’t expect others to fulfill your burden for you!
Everyone has an opinion.  Everyone has an idea.
Not all of them can be implemented in the church
ENCOURAGE others
Show appreciation to those who lead
Show appreciation to those who labor along side of you

Once these steps are underway, we will begin to see Produce! (Bearing fruit).
“So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God.” (Romans 7:4, NIV84)