MONROE, MI – The vast majority of my life has been lived in the great state of Kentucky. One of the things which Kentucky is well-known for, outside of men’s basketball, is horse racing. I am almost embarrassed to say that my knowledge of horse racing is slim to none. However, my brother currently works for a horse farm in Lexington, so at least I have that connection. Although my knowledge of horse racing is lacking, I have attended races at Churchill Downs and Keeneland. One thing I noticed when attending these races is that many of the horses have blinders on. The purpose of the blinders is to keep them focused upon what is directly in front of them. If their attention is distracted by something, it can promote anxiousness in the horse and they could go off course.
In Colossians 3:17 Paul says, “And tell Archippus, ‘Pay attention to the ministry you have received in the Lord, so that you can accomplish it.’”
Archippus is a young man who is being encouraged by the Apostle Paul to stay focused upon the ministry which he has received from the Lord. Paul is not telling Archippus to look to the left or to the right and see what others are doing, Paul is telling him to stay centered upon what God has called him to do. In a sense, Paul is telling Archippus to put blinders on and persist with the task that God has placed before him.
As church planters, we need to put blinders on. The tendency for us is to play the comparison game with other church planters. But like horses, if we lose sight of what is in front of us and focus on the things around us, it can promote anxiousness and cause us to go off course. The Lord has called us to pay attention and focus on the ministry we have received.
We are all aware of that well-known passage in 1 Corinthians 3 where Paul says, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.” Staying focused upon planting the seed and watering the seed has to be the emphasis of our labor. As a church planter, it can be frustrating to constantly be casting seed and see it fall on hard ground without bearing fruit.
Currently, I am preaching through the gospel of Mark, and it is remarkable how repeatedly the disciples fail to understand who Jesus is and what he came to do. Did Jesus get frustrated with them at times? Absolutely, read chapters eight and nine in Mark’s gospel. But did that keep him from the task in which He came to accomplish? No. Jesus continued teaching them, loving them, and patiently enduring because that was his ministry. Jesus stayed focused upon the will of the Father. Jesus says in John 6:38, “For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me.”
In the back of my mind I can still hear the voice of my pastor, friend, and one who spent significant time discipling me, “Jason be faithful, Jason be faithful.” Those few words have been a comfort to me during times of difficulty and frustration in this journey of church planting. May all of us put blinders on and focus upon being faithful to the ministries in which we have received from the Lord.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jason is the Lead Pastor of Outpost Community Church, a church plant in Monroe, MI. Jason went through a two-year Pastoral Internship at Parkway Baptist Church in Bardstown, KY from 2015-2016 under Pastor James Carroll. Upon completing that, he accepted a Church Planting Residency at First Presbyterian Trenton under Pastor Aaron Carr in January 2017 and completed it in December 2018. Jason completed his Masters of Divinity from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in May 2018. Jason is married to Amanda and they have 4 children - Ashken, Noah, Kane, and Trey.