Who Will Replace You?
For a while now I have been putting off changing the batteries in my TV remote control. I know the batteries are getting low because sometimes pressing a button does nothing. They will eventually run out, but I don’t know when. The same is true when it comes to our place of ministry in the local church. We are like God’s batteries. He has us in a particular ministry or area of service for an amount of time that He designates. We don’t know the day or year when that time will come but we know it will eventually come. Maybe we will have to move, or maybe our age will make it too difficult to continue, or maybe it will just be our time to pass away. We have seen examples of all three in our local church here. Whatever the reason, we know that we won’t be serving or ministering where we are at forever.
So what do we need to do? We need to come to the realization that we are replaceable in God’s eyes and that we need someone else to step in our place when our time of ministry is over. We have to be engaged in the process of passing the baton to someone else. Paul outlined this process in 2 Timothy 2:2. He said, “The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” Paul knew he wouldn’t be ministering forever and so he brought along a young protégé named Timothy to follow him around, learn from him, and gain experience. Now, Paul tells Timothy to do the same thing to other men. The task is to duplicate yourself. Find someone who is capable and interested in taking over for you when the time comes for the Lord to move you on to something else.
Think about it. Is there an area of ministry that you are in charge of? Who will take over if the Lord moves you to something else? Is there something you do for the church better than anybody else? What will happen when the Lord switches you to something else? In most cases that area of ministry or service will simply come to an end if there is no one ready to step in and take the baton from the previous person. We don’t want to see that happen. We want ministry to continue for generations.
Of course we all know that we should be involved in some ministry in the local church, but one of the ways you can truly serve your church in the long-term is to invest in the next generation. Prepare someone else to take over for you when your area of ministry comes to an end. Find that person who is capable and interested, show them what to do, teach them, so that the ministry can eventually be turned over and it can continue. That’s surely better than just seeing the ministry come to an end. Pass the baton.
This will take a lot of humility and the swallowing of pride because if you commit to passing the baton to someone else you are entrusting them to run the way they run, not the way you run. By turning over your ministry to someone else you are acknowledging that they may do it a little bit differently, and you’re ok with that, because the ministry continues. We have to come to grips with the realization that we are not the only ones who can do x, y, or z. Other people can do it too, but they will do it their way. However, without someone to pass the baton to, the ministry will simply die out.
This is not going to be a quick fix either. We are not talking about a few minutes of instruction one day. We are talking about life discipleship with another person. Bring somebody alongside of you in your ministry and show them how to do what you do. We are not irreplaceable to God. In fact, like a battery, we don’t know when our time of ministry in our current location is going to run out. Let’s pass the baton to the next generation and see them do the same.
-Pastor Mark Scialabba