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Updated: Dec 4, 2019

This might not conjure up warm feelings or sentiments of thanksgiving in a church leadership meeting, but these are the things that harvest and increase are made out of. Let's look further into it: Repeat after me: “People are not the problem; they have problems.” Empowering leadership that really believes this takes the lid off of creativity. No matter what stage your church is at, people are your greatest asset—even the broken, bent, and burned ones. As we preach to others, it's not problems that define you—it’s how you respond to the Holy Spirit in the process. So it is with people; they cannot define us, but how we lead them, will determine our church's growth. Problems are God’s redemptive opportunity. The old saying “find a need and fill it” had some validity, but often in church life, we charge off to solve a problem without the proper investigation. Nehemiah should give us a clear pattern. When someone comes with a problem they want to solve, what do we do? Let's take "hunger”. We need to feed the hungry. Key questions: How do we define hunger? Where are these people? Who is already doing something? What do our gifts as a church bring into the equation? The most important question, however, before we launch an initiative is, “What are we doing now?” We meaning the person who has the idea. Ministry in its truest sense is incarnation, not invention. Take a someone who reaches out to a hungry person by making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and hands them out a lunch. That is the guy I'm looking for—he sees the needs and does something about it before a ministry has been started. Addressing needs with our heart, before we turn it into a project, is critical. We can create or invent projects that people can invest a lot of time in and keep them busy, but in the end, yield little or no fruit and maybe even rob the soil of nutrients that are feeding other ministries! I call it institutional evangelism. Look at the Salvation Army—once a flame preaching the gospels, has now become a social service agency. They are a picture of what happens when we hide or get smothered in good programs that have lost the heart for the lost! A few years ago, a church wanted me to help them start a home for unwed moms. I strongly suggested they should not pursue it. Why? When I asked the question, “Who here has opened their own home to a mom in need?”, there was no one who had. My advice was to do that first. Keeping people busy in church projects that bear little or no fruit is one of the main deterrents to evangelism. People are too busy to make friends and reach out to people. People are the greatest asset; turn them loose, then create wineskins to deliver the wine that is already being produced. Let your local church become a vineyard where the community wants to come and drink. In His Master's Service, Keith Tucci NRP Apostolic Team Leader

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