from Dr. Dave Rahn
Have you ever looked at the 5 ESSENTIALS and thought they could have easily been 3 ESSENTIALS, plus 1 OPTIONAL and 1 FORGETTABLE? What is missing in a ministry site where the focus is on only three or four of the ESSENTIALS?
If Widespread Prayer is an afterthought I wonder if it doesn't testify to a pretty significant flaw in the humility chamber of our hearts. I'm a big fan of humility. In fact, I hope to someday win the President's Trophy for Most Outstanding Example of Humility, delivered at a future MidWinter along with the keys to a new Escalade. The truth is, humility puts us in the first fundamentally necessary position to see God work through us. Asking for prayer — lots of it — keeps us humble. Think of this ESSENTIAL as a gift for your heart.
Some might think it's okay to practice a different definition of Loving Relationships. They take their cue from the old song, Love the One You're With, though they mean something different than the songwriters. But unless there is a consistent pursuit of lost kids we quickly wander off mission. Understand that we can still genuinely minister to young people, but we'll begin to look like the community youth group rather than the Rescue Squad we're called to be. And this ESSENTIAL also compels us to love real kids in real time in the real world. That means we sometimes tutor, feed, clothe, intervene… I think the work for some of us at ministry sites is not that we don't love kids, it's that we don't love them aggressively enough. God's love is Big Time, large enough to make a difference in every encounter with a kid.
Likewise, few of us would consider Faithful Bible Teaching to be an unnecessary part of what we do. But some of our preparation practices don't speak well about our convictions. And instead of being so confidently armed with God's Word (2 Timothy 2:15; 4:2) that we move naturally into conversating the Scripture as we coach kids, we can minimize this ESSENTIAL by exiling it to only formal meeting times like clubs or small groups. Don't be misled. I'm not just talking about our schooling here. Practicing this ESSENTIAL may have more to do with how fresh the biblical meals are that we serve kids than how much we know. We'll feed well when our own Scripture feasts are steady and satisfying.
What is there about Collaborative Community Strategy that's truly ESSENTIAL? Argue with Jesus if you want on this, but it seems that His prayer for our unity is directly connected to evangelism effectiveness (John 17:21). Like others of the Big 5, this ESSENTIAL aligns us with how God works rather than asking the Lord to bless our mess. Does He really care if we can credit evangelism results to a particular organization? We can be so caught up in doing our thing that we can't truly partner with others. In that case our thing will lose power fast.
For Adults Who Empower to be a practical ESSENTIAL our vision needs to be crystal clear and we need to anticipate well. If we wait until we need staff to start looking for staff we're missing the boat. Always be looking! God is raising up people and we need His eyes to scout for prospects for the team. When the light switch gets flipped on for this ESSENTIAL it will no longer be tucked away on a back shelf. Like Jesus calling the boys away from their nets, we'll begin to see the hope and potential in every young person (that would make a great national ad campaign!). Nothing disrupts the flow of transformational ministry like the unplanned loss of co-workers, be they adults or students. And very little predicts fruitfulness as well as having a full bus of the right people.
I've gone over this and over this and still can't figure out which of these is not ESSENTIAL to our important work in the Spirit. By all means, let me know if you think differently.