BEING A DEPUTY/ASSISTANT IN CHRISTIAN MINISTRY: A CURSE OR A BLESSING? (1)
Babatomiwa M. Owojaiye
What is wrong with being a deputy or an assistant within the governance system of the church of the Lord Jesus Christ? Why is the office of the deputy or assistant being looked down upon by many in the church today as though it’s not God-ordained? This office occupies a strategic place in the Word of God, and I believe it will remain so until the final consummation of the Kingdom of God.
Evidently, we have allowed the wisdom, principles, systems of this world to distort our understanding of the Christian ministry. For example, who taught us to use the size of the images of our church leaders (on church calendars, diaries, bill boards and other souvenirs) to reflect the offices they occupy? The higher the office, the larger the image! I still cannot contemplate the rationale behind this practice. Are people less or more human based on the offices they occupy…in the Church of Jesus?
In the execution of their assignments, how do such men treat their deputies/assistants and vice versa? Do they relate first as Christians? Do they relate as colleagues who are called by God to labour with Him in His vineyard with love, mutual respect, and a high sense of accountability? The testimonies that abound in most of our churches have left bitter tastes in our mouths in this regard. Yet, these are just a few out of many unpleasant examples that confirm that many look to the world for wisdom rather than to God when it comes to the management of this aspect of the Christian ministry (Matthew 20:25-29).
What has happened to the “Imago Dei” in us? How are we, as the church now different from the world in this aspect? Believers in Christ are in this world but not of it (John 17:11, 14–15). The principles that govern the operations of this world differ considerably from that which operates in the Kingdom of our Father.
A deputy is a person appointed or authorized to act as a substitute for another or others. So, worldly wisdom compares the office of a deputy to a mere spare tyre of an automobile. That is to say that the office of a deputy is unnecessary, and irrelevant when compared to that of the substantive. I doubt if the notion is wholesomely true. But even if it is true in that realm of reality, it is definitely untrue in the Kingdom of Christ. Our worldviews and mode of operations are different.
Sadly, many a christian have set the wisdom of this world as the parameter for making meaning of their own lives, as well as their God-given ministry. Verily, verily, I submit unto you, beloved, once the rationale and parameters for evaluating the effectiveness of our God-given assignments are based on worldly wisdom, they will be wrong; and when that’s the case, coming out with the correct results, in the Kingdom’s perspective, will remain a mirage.
We must allow this truth to sink in deep into us. Gauging and executing our God-given assignments using worldly wisdom will definitely blur our sense of fulfillment, deny us our inner peace and outer serenity, as well as rob us of our joy. Now, you see one of the major factors responsible for the high rate of restlessness, rivalry, and burnout in our lives and our ministries nowadays.
God had in the past called many into the unique ministry of deputising for His missional leaders or arrowheads. I believe He still does so even today. The concern of this reflection, therefore, is to encourage yoke-fellows who have been called or are currently in this phase in ministry and those who would be beckoned unto the same station in future to receive it with gladness, and undertake their assignments with utmost faithfulness.
God calls people into the ministry of deputising for so many reasons, but certainly not because they are inferior or less human. It could be a waiting time, a learning or a maturation phase just as He did in the life of Joshua. It could also be the will of God for His servant to function in that ministry for the whole of his or her ministry life. We see this model in the life of Aaron, the elder brother of Moses. GOD is sovereign and He knows what’s best for us.
Our primary task as servants of God is to seek to please our MASTER at all cost. We all cannot be top leaders at the same time. Being a deputy or an assistant has a place in the global mission of God on earth. We shouldn’t allow the pressure of this world or the drive of our self-will to pitch us against the purpose of God for our lives and ministries. Bear in mind that our assignment will be graded based on the measures of our responsibilities and faithfulness.
I’ll like to conclude this reflection with the thoughts of Apostle Paul in Galatians 1:1, “Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by a man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead.” Beloved, are you a servant of God or of men? Beloved, if you are truly a servant of God, then seek to please your MASTER irrespective of the office that He posts you. Contemplate on this, my friend.
To Be Continued!