Ministry Principles from Boaz – Part 2

Ministry Principles from Boaz Part 2

Ministry leadership principles can be learned from Boaz’s life and his character.  The presentation of his life is found in the book of Ruth, continuing in chapter 3 we can learn some other aspects of ministry that can make a difference in those we minister to.

You can read Part 1 about his example to ministry workers: learning about how to greet people, take care of the natural needs of your workers, learning about people, and inviting others to be included here.

More Ministry Principles from Boaz

Be trustworthy.

In Ruth 3:6-13 Boaz is surprised in the night when Ruth is lying at his feet. His reaction to Ruth coming in where he was sleeping was with concern and confidentiality. He was not angry with her for being there nor did he take advantage of her in a wrong way. He demonstrated his trustworthiness by listening to Ruth’s request as she asked him to be the kinsman redeemer of Naomi’s family. Within his ability he agreed to help her and instructed her that she go out secretly in the morning.

Boaz was not wrongfully hiding a secret sin, but protecting her virtuous reputation among the other people. This reminds me of when Joseph was of a mind to put Mary away privily because she was with child before they were married. I believe Boaz built trust with Ruth by taking care of a sensitive matter (to her) in a right way.

Trustworthy people find special blessings when they do not jump to conclusions or share private information with other people through gossip or publicly (in a sermon, lesson, announcement, or prayer request). Ministry is a place where we can easily find out about sins or pasts of people we work with, but the honorable thing to do is build trust by being trustworthy.

Embrace the spirit of adoption.

Boaz raises his own son, Obed, in the name of Elimelech and Mahlon so that their land would stay in the family. Moreover Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of Mahlon, have I purchased to be my wife, to raise up the name of the dead (Mahlon) upon his inheritance, that the name of the dead be not cut off from among his brethren, and from the gate of his place: ye are witnesses this day.” Ruth 4:10 While it is his own son, his actions were in the spirit of adoption, raising him for another man’s sake, even though that man was already dead. (You can read more about the laws of redeeming in Leviticus 25 and 27.)

By salvation we receive adoption “…but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:” Romans 8:15b,16  We can help the members of our church be included (as mentioned in the first article) by demonstrating our love and kindness to them as brothers and sisters in Christ.

The best “church family” stories I have ever heard revolve around stories of Christian church members taking in a single person or another family and treating them like family. They may include them in their family meals, help them in special circumstances, spend time together outside of church, encourage and disciple them. The spirit of adoption brings outsiders into your  church family and creates a special bond at times that is greater than the relationship many people will have with their family members who may not be saved. It is a beautiful thing!

Keep in mind the spirit of adoption will never replace another person’s relationship with Christ. As ministers at times people can become too dependent upon their relationship with you, substituting your advice and counsel for building their own relationship with God or finding out what His will for their life is for themselves.  Point Christian people to God their Father, remind them as they struggle you may not know all the answers to their needs but to rely upon Him as their source of wisdom and strength.

Emulate Christ through your life

Character distinguishes Boaz from many other Biblical examples because nothing sinful or questionable was written about him. Boaz is regularly compared to Jesus Christ, as the kinsman redeemer of Naomi’s land. Christ is the Redeemer of our souls. Boaz in all of his positive attributes is often considered a “type” of Christ pictured in the Old Testament. It would be a worth striving to be like Boaz  to deal with every situation properly so that if a testimony were to be written about your life that no sinful thing could be mentioned.

Jesus Christ is the ultimate ministry leader. Boaz is a great example to us but he was only a man who loved and lived for God. We may use these specific examples in Boaz’s life to be able to help us emulate what Jesus Christ would want us to do in our ministry. God used Boaz in His plan to bring Ruth into the lineage of the family of David,  where Christ would, in the fullness of time, be born. He was able to be used because of his godliness.

Conclusion

We may not always be able to strive to be a Boaz with no sinful thing ever mentioned about us. We mess up! We’re not always friendly, trustworthy, aware of the needs of those we minister to but God has a plan for us to continue in our work for Him. God knows that people will frustrate us and we won’t feel like embracing the spirit of adoption or including other people especially after we have been hurt. When those times come in your life, then go to the Bible and glean from its pages and learn from the Master of ministry. Keep building your relationship with Him so your service and leadership can continue to make a difference!

 

Ministry Principles from Boaz

The best type of ministry leadership training includes principles we learn from the Bible. What does God have to say about leadership?

Boaz, from the book of Ruth, is an exceptional example of a great leader. Specific circumstances and reactions in his life help us to see how we can practically apply his leadership qualities or principles to ministry.

Ministry Principles from Boaz

Boaz is first introduced in Ruth chapter 2, as he was a family member to Elimelech, Naomi’s husband who had died. Ruth, the Moabitess, had been married to Naomi’s son, Mahlon. After his death, Ruth makes a life-changing decision to leave her family and all she has ever known to go with Naomi back to Bethlehem, Judea (chapter 1). Upon their arrival Ruth sets her mind to go immediately to work for their livelihood. She found a place to gather grain in the  fields during the harvest time. Widows were allowed by law (as God’s provision) to gather grain in the corners of the fields and pick up any other leftovers on the ground outside the sheaves in the fields. Ruth “happens” to begin gathering grain in Boaz’s fields.

ministry Principles from boaz

Greet those who serve with you.

Boaz blessed his servants when he saw them.   “And behold, Boaz came from Beth-lehem, and said unto the reapers, The Lord be with you. And they answered him, The Lord bless thee.” Ruth 2:4

Shake hands, say hello with a smile, give your “servants” in ministry a welcome! Acknowledge they are present and encourage them in the name of the Lord.

Take care of the natural needs of those you work with.

Boaz provided water for his servants to drink and meals for them in the middle of the day. Boaz tells Ruth, “…and when thou art athirst, go unto the vessels, and drink of that which the young men have drawn.” Ruth 2:9  and “…At mealtime come thou hither, and eat of the bread, and dip thy morsel in the vinegar. And she sat beside the reapers: and he reached her parched corn, and she did eat, and was sufficed, and left.” Ruth 2:14.

Food and drink are one of the best ways to take care of hard-working people. Provide meals and even rest for those who are laboring with you in ministry for special work days, etc. If  at all possible make it worth their while by taking care of their natural needs.

Be understanding, serving church members (including church staff) and their families may get sick or need a personal break from working in a ministry because of their health or spiritual needs. Arrange a way to help them continue to grow in their walk with the Lord and rest a while.

Learn about the people in and around your ministry.

Boaz learned about the type of person Ruth was. “And Boaz answered and said unto her, It hath fully been showed me, all that thou hast done unto thy mother in law since the death of thine husband: and how thou hast left thy father and thy mother, and the land of thy nativity, and art come unto a people which thou knewest not heretofore.” Ruth 2:11,12

Make good use of your time by learning about those who are around you! Making conversation and listening to people will help you find out all types of things about them. Ask others about them (no gossiping!) and find out the good things you can do to be able to minister to them.

Ministry Tip: Make notes of what you are learning about others to help you remember their birthday, favorite foods, relatives, and any other type of information. This may sound weird in some respects but if you’re prone to forgetting specifics it may be an aid to help you minister more effectively.

Invite outsiders to be included in your regular church life.

Ruth, as a Moabitess, could have easily been overlooked or ostracized for being a foreigner in Boaz’s fields in Israel. She probably had some significant differences in appearance or dialect but Boaz made sure she was included in the meals the servants shared. See Ruth 2:14, (written above).

Make it your job to personally include people who are different. This could include: race, financial status, appearance, etc.

Invite them to services they do not attend, functions within the church (Bible studies, fellowships, prayer meetings), or be hospitable and have them in your home. Including people makes them feel loved and accepted in your church family. Inclusion, not a clique type of inclusion, creates a bond that will help people to grow in the Lord and in their fellowship with the other Christians in your church.

 

These three principles were a part of who he was that made him a great leader, I’m not sure he calculated every conversation to meet a specific leadership criteria but rather just was genuinely a person who cared deeply for God and for others and thus made a difference. May we be people who live our lives out to serve others as an extension from our relationship with God and this job we do in ministry touch people’s lives for eternity!

In the next article we will cover more principles that Boaz included in his life, so stay tuned for Part 2.

A “Fruitless” Sunday

Fruitless Sunday

Quick Family Update: We are now working in a church plant ministry in the southwest and have been since March 2016. We hold our services in a local elementary school. We travel around 30 minutes to services on Sundays and meet in the pastor’s home on Wednesday nights. We are still living with my in-laws which is allowing our children special time to spend with their grandparents. My husband serves as the assistant pastor leading music and teaching the adult Sunday School class while also working a full-time job. We are all growing and enjoying the new experience church planting really is… this story is from a “fruitless” Sunday this summer!

The plan was to have a Sunday morning “Fun Day,” a morning Vacation Bible School type service in hopes to meet people in our community. Our little church plant had a group of eight teenagers and four adults come for a week on a missions trip. Throughout the week we went out in the blistering heat and passed out flyers in the neighborhoods surrounding the elementary school where we meet. The teens practiced special music weeks ahead before they arrived and did fundraising for their trip well in advance.

Canvassing for our upcoming event

Meeting and planning where we will put out flyers

The week before our event…

The sun was wearing us out within two hours of putting out flyers. Water bottles were in high demand. I took all five of our children out two days of four to put out flyers on doors. It was hard to get through those two smaller neighborhoods without sweaty foreheads and pink cheeks close to being overheated even though we stopped toward the end every five minutes for a drink. Our Tres (nickname for 3rd child), who is six years old and learning to read, began recognizing the “No Soliciting” signs that were dispersed along the neighborhood doors. Our baby rode along in the stroller playing with a little monkey key chain, I was constantly adjusting the shade over her to keep her feet from being sunburned. The teenagers did more leg work but came to the end of the mornings just as drained. When the afternoons came, they crashed into a heap taking naps on the couches because the heat had zapped their energy. The flyers were distributed and a few contacts had been made.

The day of our event…

Two hours before the service we were setting up around the school for the fun water games. Water balloons and other supplies were ready, ice in ice chests for snow cones, two lessons ready for younger and older children. We waited in anticipation.

Several people waited outside the school gates to welcome visitors but no one came.

No one.

Not one kid, adult, or new guest at all.

My heart had built up an anticipation for multiple visitors so when no people came it was a crash of disappointment. I won’t lie, I am human, and a woman with emotions. I was disheartened. I wanted to cry for everyone who put forth all the effort. I was not disappointed in God but surprised at our results. I tried reading the faces of the other adults as the morning service time came and our services began with just our small handful of church folk.

Were we really okay with what looked like an event of menial proportions?

The answer is yes,  we were okay. The group went on with the program with our children (our children plus the pastor’s children = 8) They still played the games planned, ate the snow cones, gave away the candy prizes and did the “Grand Prize” drawings that had been advertised in our flyers. Most importantly they went on with the Bible lesson and the youth pastor spoke about “The Greatest Gift Ever Given.” Almost all of our children have given a profession of faith except our Cuatro (4 year old). We all needed the reminder of Christ’s gift of His own precious life dying on the cross for our sins that day.

The youth group treated our “ministry kids” as if they were just as important as any visitor.  The pastor and the group did not just drop the program because guests did not arrive. It could have been easy to throw our hands up in the air and have everyone join in together for the regular church service. Our children were taught ministering to them was important because it’s true: Ministry children are important too.

Sunday night the youth group sang, “If just one more soul were to walk down the aisle, it would be worth every struggle, it would be worth every trial, a lifetime of labor would be worth it all if it rescued just one more soul.” My heart was struck that may not have been our week to rescue one more soul but if in the course of time we see someone saved, a Sunday like that day genuinely would be worth all the efforts.

After Sunday was over…

The thought occurred to me that night as I lie in bed in the twilight of sleep, there was fruit. The fruit of my womb, my children. The fruit of my pastor’s wife’s womb, her children. The fruit of some parents and youth leaders and a pastor in that neighboring state were there ministering to us. The fruit of paFruits of Laborsrents and youth leaders decades ago were there, my husband and I and our pastor and his wife. We are all fruit of labors people invested in our lives for the Lord’s sake. The Lord Himself has been the investor of our lives, nurturing our hearts all along to help us have spiritual growth and understanding. He has been watering, pruning, investing since we were all children to bring us to where we are today. We, the ministers, count as fruit although at first glance the “reward” from the labors for our current day left us seeming empty-handed. The truth was the opposite. The enemy would love for us to discount the Lord’s investment and make us feel like failures.

Church planting is beginning with a bare field and seasons of time include sowing the seed of God’s Word and letting people know you are in the community. To all the church planting families out there I say, keep planting, the Lord will give the increase. Don’t give up on reaching out in the community to all the “neighbors” out there, souls still need Christ no matter your attendance. Compel, sow with energy, pray in earnest with tears, fruit will come in its season.

To all the Ministry Mamas out there I say, even if it is only your children teach the class or run the program! When the church van or bus route is filled only with your children share the joy of the Lord with them and invest in them in a special way. Relish the moments of only watching the few babies in the nursery, laugh and have fun with them for they too need a good experience in learning to love going to church. When your ministry seems to bear no new fruit and no visitors walk through the door or souls come forward in a church service, do your job and leave the rest to God. Value those who are present, they are fruit worth loving and investing in!