What I’ve Learned from Ministry on the Road

I’ve learned a valuable lesson about ministry while traveling the world to do missions. You learn a lot actually, but there is a reoccurring theme that keeps rising to the surface. I think I can better help you understand the lesson I’ve learned by explaining briefly what ministry looked like before I started traveling.

A quick selfie with the youth group.

A quick selfie with the youth group.


I was a Youth Pastor at a ch
urch and I LOVED it! It was always an adventure and perfect for my temperament. I would go to school events and hang out with the students as much as I could. I would also be asked to speak at various events around town. Planning camping trips, games, parties, and retreats was normal. It was so much fun and I loved the way I could see God using me to impact students.

 

The unseen problem I had however, was my ministry was NOT students. Although I was in fact commissioned and called specifically to reach students, but just students. The problem is God calls us to reach people everywhere, and I had fallen into a routine of reaching only students. If you were to ask me if I wanted to reach everyone I would of course said yes but in retrospect that was not my focus.

So fast forward to where I am today in Jamaica. To date I’ve done ministry in 15 different countries and one thing that remains constant is ministry on the road is vague at best. It’s not as outlined as it used to be. I don’t give weekly reports at a staff meeting or have office hours to plan. Ministry has become whoever I’m around. Sometimes it’s children in an orphanage, sometimes it’s the worker next to me on the construction site.

Ministry is much broader than a job description –
it is a lifestyle.

People are all around us but we fall so easily into a routine. We may teach a Sunday school class and as we routinely drive through the bank window we never take time to consider they are OUR ministry also. The secretary at our office was created to have an intimate and vibrant relationship with Christ and we have been called to play a role in that for them.

Edited

Working at an orphanage in Haiti, my team quickly learned that our work was NOT the construction we thought. It was in fact loving these faces.

Ultimately, most people know who Jesus is because someone reached out to them. The flip side is that most people do not know Jesus because they haven’t been reached yet. I’ve learned that God will sometimes allow a routine to develop for us because someone along that path needs routinely reminded that they are loved by an infinite God. He blesses us with the ability to carry that incredible message!

If we aren’t careful, we can miss so many great opportunities by not being present and available. As we rush and jump to what we think we “need” to do, we miss a lot of what God has called us to do. My best advice to combat this? Never define your ministry. Consider yourself commissioned to be a missionary along the life you’re already living. You are called to reach the people that (insert your name) is constantly around and the people that cross their path.

If you are believer, then you have been called to reach these people. Never let your calling get washed out by routine or a defined agenda.

All this may sound like a lot of work but we have to remember what a blessing an honor this is. To be called God’s ambassadors. What a crazy title but it exists only for those who carry the good news to people. We represent God and we have the ability to show people who God is.

7 Comments

  • Inese says:

    Hi, Josh, thank You for this wonderfully post and show Gods heart what he has for nations- people! I am a free with many thinks what you mention and we just need to ask to The Lord what you shan’t me to do where I am know, and He always will show up somebody with need….
    My atencion call that you have been working in Haiti, because I have been also twice and currently I am preparing for yo have nextr trip to Haiti this year in December. If is possible and you have the time, to share a little about which places you was working in Haiti and how it was for you.

    May God continue leads your to all world and bless you!

    Inese

    • Josh Stoneman says:

      Wow that’s great! I worked in Port Au Prince for a month. I spent a lot of time working on a revival we had there but the rest of the time was spent at an orphanage there in the city. It was a great experience! What city will you be in?

      • Inese says:

        Hi, Josh! Thanks for your answer. In this moment i dont know yet in what city we will work, but last time we was in 7 citys, so we will see wich city God will lead and also i workd twice in Puert o Price- in manys orphanages. Currently i am based in Argentina, so from hear we will go to Haiti. I look your posts and you are coming to Soth America, hope God will lead you and provide everything 😉
        Be blessed!
        Inese

  • Karen D says:

    As a fellow ministry traveler, mainly in the Middle East, your blogs are always encouraging to me as well to know that my faith is being tested along with the people G-d has called me to. From the Middle East, sending prayer and support for you brother

    • Josh Stoneman says:

      Thank you so much! I really appreciate that encouragement! I was in Turkey for a few weeks, years ago. Keep up the great work!

  • Sara P. says:

    Amen! I’ve been learning this along the way, too. It seems harder than pouring into someone then going on our merry way (which is probably why we love short term missions) but I love what you said: “God will sometimes allow a routine to develop for us because someone along that path needs routinely reminded that they are loved by an infinite God.” Our ministry is wherever we are! The people that appear in our life constantly are who God has called us to love and share the Gospel with.

    • Josh Stoneman says:

      Amen!!! Keep up the great work Sara! I know God is going to continue using you in your life. Don’t wait until the race starts to make this a lifestyle!

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