Kingdom Driven vs. Need Driven

This week in staff meeting, our pastor shared a concept that helps clear up a lot of issues about ministry time and resource commitment for me. To get the context, first read this story about how Jesus fed the 5000 with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish.
Need Driven
The disciples see all the hungry people, the distance from food sources, the cost of supplying food for all of them, and they come up with a common sense plan: “send them away.” In need driven ministry, when we let the ‘need’ drive how we operate. We look at the huge problems related to being in a fallen, broken society, then look at the limitations of our resources of time, people, money, facilities, or whatever and we despair. With this perspective, we go in one of two directions: either we become slaves to ministry or we become closed off and protective. This can also be viewed as the legalism and licentiousness pendulum. If we are not driven too suicidal exhaustion by a legalistic burden, then we are driven to a self-protective licentiousness that shuts out the cries of those in need. In any case, need driven ministry is the result of a lack of faith in Jesus to be able to deliver on His promises to be the Messiah.
Kingdom Driven
In the story, Jesus graciously looks past the disciples lack of faith. He says, “you feed them.” How are they supposed to feed all these people? They don’t have the resources. It forces them to look at what they do have, give it to Jesus, and let Him make something miraculous out of it. Does this mean that we spend every penny and commit every second to ministry? By no means! In fact it gives us freedom to say, “Jesus, I don’t have enough resources to fix all these problems. You see the needs, you hear my prayers, and you will never fail to keep you Word. So, I give you what I have (my 5 loaves and 2 fishes) and I will trust that you will accomplish your will with it.”
As a church musician, how does this apply?
Many times have I looked at our all white band and despaired that I was failing to meet the needs of representing our vision of reconciliation in worship. Sometimes, when I see the lack of leadership in an area, I compensate by adopting the “if you want it done right, you got to do it yourself” mentality even though that extra work sucks time and energy from my family time. Sometimes, I see how impossible it is to cross the cultural gaps between American and African worship traditions, and I just turn my back on pursuing changes. These are the effect of being need driven in my heart. I look at our limitations in skill, time, volunteers, leadership, and diversity and like the disciples I want to say to Jesus, “Lord, we can’t do this; it would be easier to do ministry if you would just send them away so we can stick to the basics.”
Being a kingdom driven church musician means that I focus on my 5 loaves and 2 fish. Last year, I had 3 2-hour rehearsals every Saturday. I learned that 3 rehearsals is too much for me. I had to say, I don’t have 3 rehearsals to give, I only have 2. So I needed to trust that Jesus could take what I have to give and multiply it. For me, this has been a matter of delegation or cancellation. If I can’t find people to take the ball and run with a leadership role, then I am going to cut out the ministry and trust that Jesus can do His work without that ministry.
My mantra in this has been, “Lord, it’s your church.” In other words, Jesus loves people and is more committed to His kingdom then I could ever be. If I see a need, I can lift it up in prayer, give my 5 loaves and 2 fish, and trust that Jesus can supply the rest.

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  1. #1 by Heidi Vincent on September 24, 2008 - 1:43 pm

    I think Im prone to the slave mindset. I often think, “if I don’t do this or fix this who will?” Even this week I was feeling depressed thinking “What if nobody shows up to sing in October? It will be ALL my fault”. I keep saying, O.K. Im only going to spend this much time trying to work things out, but I always feel bad knowing there is so much left to be done. Ultimately, I think its hard to know when to stop striving and just wait on God. I mean, what amount of time spent serving constitutes as giving my 5 loaves and 2 fish? Hard to tell. Where is my faith? I KNOW God desires to be praised, and He has never left me to fend for myself, but I also know he wants to use my service. Its the balance I could use prayer for.

  2. #2 by James Ward on September 30, 2008 - 5:36 pm

    Check out Exodus 18– the original delegation directive, and it came from Moses’ father-in-law!
    Saw Chioma in Nashville this weekend.

  3. #3 by Peter K. on October 9, 2008 - 11:12 am

    All white band?

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