Ministry leadership is a struggle. The challenges are great.
It is for these reasons that ministry leaders must break the loaves.
The feeding of the five thousand and the four thousand recounted in Matthew 14 and Matthew 15 respectively, each display a story of Jesus and his disciples overcoming significant, if not impossible, ministry challenges.
The leadership challenges are obvious and we are all familiar with them.
They are in a remote place. It’s getting dark. The people need food. (Matthew 14:15)
5 loaves of bread and two fish. (Matthew 14:17)
7 loaves of bread and a few fish. (Matthew 15:34)
I could go on and on. Doubtless you have heard or read of many valuable lessons, which have been drawn from these accounts. I have too. All ministry leaders face these sorts of challenges.
But I had never thought too long or thought through the breaking of pieces. That seemed obvious. Lot’s of people means lots of pieces. But might we find a lesson in the “breaking” of the bread?
“Then, breaking the loaves into pieces…” (Matthew 14:19)
“…and broke them into pieces.” (Matthew 15:36)
Just like many ministry leaders who face a question as to how to best provide for many with logistical hurdles and resource challenges, so too did Jesus and the disciples. So, the question we might ask ourselves as ministry leaders is what are the resources within my control that can be broken into pieces to meet help overcome the challenges we face?
Leadership Lesson: Breaking the resources we control into pieces allows many of our ministry challenges to be overcome.
Let’s look at a few examples…
Time is resource, that when broken into pieces can support your ministry. Breaking commitments into smaller blocks of time might attract more people. Building schedules that require shorter periods of service might retain more people.
Breaking leadership into smaller pieces that can be shared with others not only lightens the load on the leader, but also increases the capacity of the ministry team and develops others into leaders who can one day step-up to lead.
Breaking responsibilities into pieces creates opportunities for others to join meeting the demands of the ministry. Responsibilities broken into small pieces can create more buy-in, accountability, stability, and grows people on your team.
A ministry may have too big of task to be done effectively. Look for ways to break up the functions into pieces and create teams to handle those pieces and if need be, break the functions into an entirely new ministry.
No ministry ever seems to have enough volunteers. The role of recruiting more volunteers must be broken into pieces that everyone participates in. It’s not just enough for the leader to recruit, everyone must recruit.
Strengths and Gifts:
A leader has only some many areas of strength and giftedness, but there are multiple areas that need attention. Breaking these areas or purposes into pieces that others can focus on and more strengths and gifts can be utilized across the ministry. More strengths and gifts being utilized makes for more effective ministry.
Here’s the point. After thanking God, Jesus took the resources He controlled and broke them into pieces. Ministry leaders can take a lesson from Jesus and break what they control into smaller pieces
The provision was in the pieces.
What do you need to break into pieces?