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Outward Focused

Philosphy Of Ministry

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at best knows in the end the triumphs of high achievement and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat." Theodore Roosevelt.

The above quote best sums up what it means to be a person that is "outward focused." This person understands that the only people who are never harassed by critics are the people who say nothing and do nothing. One of the things that I discovered as I read the Bible is that the evidence of successful Christianity is seen not only in how many friends a Christian makes, but also in how many enemies. Not only by how many people they make glad, but also by how many they make mad. Jesus had some very personal friends, but He also had some very passionate enemies. Paul lived his life in such a way that there were a lot of people who wanted to get close to him, but there were just as many people who wanted to chase him.

The mission of this ministry is to equip Christians and Churches to become outward focused. The Church is not to be a haven until heaven, nor a refuge until the rapture. It is an army whose focus is outward, whose soldiers are deployed in the malls, businesses, and neighborhoods where the lost live, play and work. Proverbs 24:10-12 admonishes us and challenges us on this much needed mission. Verse 10 out of the New American translation states, "If you remain indifferent in time of adversity, your strength will depart from you." The adversity here is not speaking of adversity you are in, but adversity that others are in. The Hebrew word for strength is "Koach" which simply means "the ability to do something." It is the same word translated "ability" in Ezra 2:69 which states,"According to their ability (Koach) they gave to the treasury for the work 61,000 gold drachmas, and 5,000 silver minas, and 100 priestly garments. Therefore it is not just strength from physical attributes, but strength that comes from gifting, from knowledge, and from resources. The implication is, if you don’t use all the things that God has given to you to help others, than you will lose them for yourself.

It goes on to say in verses 11& 12 - "Rescue the perishing; don't hesitate to step in and help. If you say, ‘Hey, that's none of my business,’ will that get you off the hook? Someone is watching you closely, you know, someone not impressed with weak excuses." This passage condemns as criminal the non-intervention of the strong on behalf of the weak and distressed. This crime is committed for various reasons. For some it is purely indifference; there are many in the church who are at ease themselves, and never concern themselves about the sufferings of others; they are well fed, and it matters not to them who is hungry; and while their needs are being supplied, it matters not to them who is in want. For others, it is moral cowardice, laziness and an unwillingness to practice self-denial.

But this passage seems to deal especially with the ignorant, those who have never considered the claims which others have upon them. They are really ignorant of how many are perishing for the want of a helping hand. But this ignorance cannot be excused and is regarded as criminal by God Himself. As the Church we must consider how much actual wrong-doing on the part of some, is chargeable to the not-doing of others. We must consider how much sin might be prevented if the church, who has the power, would seek to deliver others from bodily, social, or moral death.

John 7:37-38, "Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, 'If any man is thirsty let him come to me and drink. He who believes in me, as the Scripture said from his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water'."

In verse 37 Jesus is using the word "thirst" to address all mankind's needs. He could have just as easily said "If any man is hurting let him come unto me and I will heal him." or "If any man is bound, let him come unto me and I will loose him." He is saying whatever you have thirst for, come unto Him and He a has drink. Jesus has whatever any person needs. Jesus is addressing a crowd of people who, in some area of their life, don't have enough and He is offering them a drink which represents just enough.

In verse 38 Jesus then challenges them to turn a portion of their drink outward to others. If they will trust Him and do that, then their drink will become a river. In other words, when we give a portion of our just enough to someone who doesn't have enough, then our just enough becomes more than enough, not only to the person we are ministering to but to us as well. The drink becomes a river when we turn it outwards. The abundance that scripture promises all of us doesn't happen in the receiving but in the giving.

This ministry came into being when Jim was challenged to turn a portion of what ministered to him outward to others. When he did, the drinks that ministered to his needs became rivers that have ministered to the needs of others. Therefore, this ministry is dedicated to teaching and training people to take that which has ministered to them and turn it outwards in order to minister to others.

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