A few years ago, I spoke to 120 Every Nation leaders at a leadership conference in Singapore. Missionaries, campus ministers, church planters, and pastors from all over Asia traveled to be there. They were pioneering works in Mongolia, Vietnam, and Bangladesh, as well as China, Iran, and other restricted nations. Many had already experienced intense persecution. Others were expecting it soon. There was not an ounce of laziness or apathy in that room.
I knew that these young men and women were all hardworking, highly committed people who were willing to do anything for the sake of the Gospel. My opening comment was,
“If you’re not experiencing the kind of fruitfulness you desire, it’s not because you are too lazy to minister. It might be because you minister too much.”
__Many had already experienced intense persecution. Others were expecting it soon. There was not an ounce of laziness or apathy in that room.
I went onto explain the difference between “too much ministering” in contrast to investing time equipping others to do the ministering. The “Myth of Maturity” is the idea that new believers shouldn’t minister until they are mature, until all their problems are worked out, until they have a thorough understanding of the Bible. The truth is, Christian maturity is the result of ministering the Gospel, not a prerequisite for it. It’s a learn-by-doing endeavor. One-on-one campus evangelism, small group leadership, and short-term missions are all Christian growth experiences for disciples at every stage of spiritual growth.
Leaders who labor under this misconception (the Myth of Maturity) are limited in how much fruit they produce and how many disciples they make simply because they have to do everything themselves. The strategy for Every Nation leaders is the same as it was for Jesus — small group discipleship that quickly establishes new believers in the faith, equips them to minister, and empowers them to make other disciples.
My suggestion that the Every Nation leaders might be ministering too much was simply to drive home a point. In reality, most of those leaders in Asia had never been exposed to the Myth of Maturity. No one informed them about what they couldn’t do. From the time they first believed, they accepted the commission to “go into all the world and make disciples” (Matthew 28:19-20).
Steve Murrell is the president of Every Nation Ministries.