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People often write to us who are not satisfied with what they see in the churches today, and so they want to start their own ministry.

It is commendable that they are willing to take such initiative, and we will do all we can to assist them in their efforts. Some want to become evangelists and move from church to church preaching to the congregations. Some see themselves more as prophets, with a message of judgment on the churches. Others have set up their own websites, on which they have posted articles on various subjects. There have even been a few who have set about to start their own Christian communities.

We are pleased to be able to contribute some small part in these bold efforts. However, we do have a serious word of caution to each of these people. We have generally found that there is a quantum leap between starting your own ministry and actually trying to serve God. One focuses on how you are going to change others, whereas the other focuses on how God is going to change us.

There are a number of reasons why these people do not want to work with us. The most common is greed. Money equals power, and if they were to forsake all of their power to a community that is bigger than themselves, then they could no longer be in control of all that they do. With enough money, they can come and go as they please. They can indulge themselves when they feel like it. They can use the money to buy themselves recognition and even friends from time to time.

Of course this unwillingness to forsake all private ownership (as happens when one joins a Jesus Christian community) is closely linked with another barrier to co-operation, and that is pride. Some issues linked to money in the previous paragraph contain an element of pride too: personal recognition and personal control.

Then there is fear... usually quite an irrational fear. The devil can make people imagine some really bizarre possibilities about what is going to happen to them if they move in and start working with us. He does it to keep them out there on their own. Because the list is so long and varied, we won't even begin to state the possibilities here. The point is, however, that fear is hardly a sound Christian motive for doing anything.

Finally, there is lust: Most often sexual freedom (although it can involve such things as drug addiction as well). We live in a sex-crazed world, and we Jesus Christians are trying to live sexually chaste lives. For people who have never learned to control their sexual desires, or at least to express them in scripturally acceptable ways, such control is anathema.

So what kind of a "ministry" is going to grow from greed, pride, fear, and lust? Usually, no ministry at all. Most of these people have fallen or will fall flat on their faces.

The answer isn't necessarily to give up hope of having your own ministry, nor is it necessarily that you should join us. God can teach you the same lessons through almost anyone... a fellow evangelist, a spouse or lover, your local church. Considering all of the problems that are going to come out of such an uncommitted life, we would rather have you learn them from someone else anyway. Then come to us when you've learned them all. :o)

Seriously, we will do what we can to help you overcome these problems. It won't be easy, but it's part of the recipe for a truly humble, truly loving, truly obedient ministry of faith in God, and not faith in ourselves.

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