When Ministry Gets Messy

When it is time to do something in ministry and there is a disagreement on what to do or how to do it, how do we work through it? If we are really allowing the spirit to guide us, will we all be happy or at least at peace with the decision, with the outcome?

Acts 15:36-40

Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us go back and visit the brothers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing.” Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, 38 but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord.

Two men who worked together well for many years here have a dispute over the reliability and value to the ministry of a third man. Perhaps Mark was prone to homesickness. Or fear. Or he simply was not as committed as he should be. In any case Paul felt he would be detrimental, an unnecessary drag on the mission. Barnabas, on the other hand, felt that it was important to enable, encourage and disciple Mark by taking him back to the mission field. Who was right about what was best for the mission?

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1 Comment

  1. Diane

     /  November 20, 2013

    The way I see it, both Paul and Barnabas were wrong. Galatians 5:19-21 says, among other things, “the acts of the sinful nature” include “discord…fits of rage….dissensions,factions….” In Ephesians 4:3 it says, “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” There is so much more that Paul himself preached about our behavior. He, like most of us who try to teach, had to have been preaching to himself.


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