I’ve been hosting and producing a Christian radio show for about three and a half years now. Over this time period, I’ve had a number of people contact me for advice and information for starting their own radio ministry.
At first, to be honest, I felt kind of threatened by these emails. After all, I’m earning a business degree, and I’m very much aware of the fact that having a monopoly or niche market greatly improves your chances of success. In a worldly view, one more radio program out there means that much more competition for me. But notice I said “in a worldly view.”
I’ve come to realize that heaven’s business rules look much different than our own. Where through worldly vision we see ideas like competition, in heaven all they can see is the advancement of the kingdom. We see a great example of this in the Gospel of John. In chapter 3, John the Baptist’s disciples approach him and complain that Jesus is stealing all of their baptizing business. John’s response here is brilliant. He says, “God in heaven appoints each person’s work.” Or as Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase says, “It’s not possible for a person to succeed—I’m talking about eternal success—without heaven’s help.”
Basically what John is implying here is that in God’s kingdom there is no such thing as competition. We can get caught up all we want in denominations or in ministry boundaries, but the fact of the matter is that to God none of it matters.
God has given every one of us a ministry that He wants carried out, and He wants us as Christians to work together to get the job done. Yes, that may mean that we no longer have monopolies on the ministry market, but it also means that God’s kingdom is advancing.
As part of this business philosophy, we may see one town having 10 churches while another town of similar size has only two. It doesn’t matter. What does matter is that this segmentation isn’t mistaken for division. We are all players on the same team. Some may play defense while others cover offense, but we should all work together to meet the same end goal.
Realizing this has freed me in many ways. Now when I receive emails from others looking to start something similar, I no longer feel threatened, but rather I’m encouraged by what God is doing. Even if another show on the market means that I’m “losing” listeners or stations, those aren’t losses. Rather it’s God reaching people where they are at, and if we are serious about ministry, that is all that should matter.
John the Baptist clearly didn’t care whether it was he who was doing the baptizing or someone else. All that mattered to him was that it was being done and for that he was joyful. As John said: “The bride will go where the bridegroom is. A bridegroom’s friend rejoices with him. I am the bridegroom’s friend, and I am filled with joy at his success. He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.”
This attitude that John had is the same attitude that we need to identify ourselves with. Even though Jesus is no longer carrying out His public ministry Himself here on earth, He is carrying it out through others, and it’s not up to us to worry about how that happens.
God will become greater when we become less.
[Kristen McNulty is a 21-year-old university student who lives in Timmins, Ontario, Canada. In her free time she hosts and produces the syndicated Making A Difference (MAD) Christian Radio Show (www.madradioshow.net).]