Ingredients of Effective Kingdom Ministry

Adding even one odd ingredient can make a huge difference when cooking or baking. For example, add zucchini to chocolate brownies, or fresh apples to sweet coleslaw, or avocado to rich pudding. None of those recipes would turn out right. When it comes to building an effective ministry, we need the right recipe (God’s recipe) to make it work. In Luke 9, Jesus lays out several “ingredients” that should be incorporated into everything we do. If we follow these ways, instead of the world’s ways, we will have the right recipe for effective kingdom ministry. 

1.) We need to surrender our available resources. In Luke 9:10-17, we see how the crowds gathered around Jesus and how he taught them about the kingdom of God. The disciples urged Jesus to send everyone away so they could find lodging and food. He told the twelve to give them something to eat. He replied that they only had five loaves of bread and two fish. That doesn’t seem like enough to feed a crowd of 5,000 people. However, Jesus took what was there, gave thanks to God for it, and broke up pieces for the disciples to distribute.

God multiplied the fish and loaves, so much so that every ate and was satisfied. The disciples had to pick up 12 baskets full of broken pieces that were left over. As we surrender the resources that we have to God (big or small), we will see God at work. We must trust that he will provide what’s lacking. 

2.) We need to be willing to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Christ. Luke tells us that Jesus was praying in private and the disciples were with him. He asked them, “Who do you say that I am?” Peter said, “God’s Messiah.” He said the Son of Man must suffer many things, be rejected by religious authorities, killed and raised up on the third day. Then Jesus challenged them all by saying that they should deny themselves, take up their cross daily, and follow Him. He said that whoever saves his life ends up losing it, but whoever loses his life for Christ will save it (Luke 9:18-27).

3.) We need to trust in the power of God not in our own strength. After the Transfiguration (verses 28-36), Jesus and several disciples were coming down from the mountain and another crowd gathered around Jesus. Someone came up to him, begging Jesus to heal his son who was possessed by a demon. The man said that Jesus’ disciples were asked to cast out the demon, but they failed. Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit and healed the boy. They were amazed at the greatness of God. 

4.) We need to be willing to serve the least. After the disciples argued who would be the greatest, Jesus said they must receive Him like a child since the least is the greatest (Luke 9:46-48). This shows us that we need to serve the least and disenfranchised. 

5.) We need to follow God completely. In the last part of Luke 9, we see a series of potential disciples who wanted to follow Jesus. But when push came to shove, they were not willing to count the cost. The first one said that he would follow Jesus wherever he would go. But Jesus basically said that he didn’t have a home, and the cost of following him would be to live similarly. Another one came and said he wanted to bury his father first. Jesus said, “let the dead bury their own dead.” The third potential disciple wanted to go back and say good-buy to his family. But Jesus told him that no one who looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God (verses 57-62).

The assumption is that none of these potential disciples decided to follow Jesus. The challenge for us as believers today is to learn what it means to follow God completely and separate from any hindrances. 

As you look at this list of five “ingredients,” which ones do you need to work on in your life? Are there any that are missing? Take some time this week to search your heart and pray about what God may be calling you to do.