How to Get What You Want in Ministry
By Dwayne Moore
“If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.” —John 15:7-8 ESV
I remember one early morning sitting in the living room of our former home in Louisville, KY. It was about three and a half years ago. We had just officially started this ministry, Next Level Worship International. We had stepped way out on faith. We had stepped out of the proverbial boat and were learning to walk on water, if you will. We were already doing things that a new ministry like ours isn’t supposed to be able to do.
As I sat there that morning having my quiet time I reflected on the vision the Lord had put in my heart for an international ministry. I remember thinking, “Who are you, Dwayne, to think you can build such a ministry? Who are you to think you can dream such big ideas and do such big stuff?”
I struggled with that because it seemed presumptuous to me–even a bit arrogant. I thought maybe I was thinking too highly of myself. But there in my quiet time with the Lord I opened to John 15 and read Jesus’ words. I remember the moment when I read them. I churned them over and over in my mind: “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you want…”
Conditions for Whatever
So, what does Jesus mean by “whatever you want”? Basically it means whatever you want. However, to obtain what we wish for, there are four important criteria drawn from John 15 to which our wants must comply…
1. Father. The entire focus of Jesus’ words in John 15 points toward His Father. You and I can get what we wish only if it will bring glory to the Father. That tends to narrow our wish list down a bit.
Our hopes and dreams have got to be for the purpose of building the Lord’s name rather than our own. If our secret agenda is to bring attention and credit to ourselves or to other people, then this promise of “whatever you want” from Jesus is negated and nullified–simple as that.
2. Faith. Such gutsy claims as Jesus made here to his followers requires a gutsy faith to believe and accept them. Dreams, if they in fact are God-sized, can’t be based on what we can see with our eyes or grasp with our human understanding. We must take God at His Word and not doubt, “…for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord” (James 1:6b-7 ESV).
3. Fruit. What we are wishing for has got to be something that will bear much fruit in the Kingdom. As I sat in my living room that early morning, I distinctly recall a little voice inside me whisper: “Look at what Jesus said, Dwayne. He said you will bear much fruit. Dwayne, you cannot out-dream me. You can’t come up with anything that will out-do me. Fact is, it’s when you don’t dream about things that bear much fruit for me that you fail to please me. I have blessed you and given you opportunities. I’m telling you now to go bear all the fruit you can. Go do it for my glory and quit apologizing for dreaming too big!”
That was a kairos moment for me. It set me free. It was the most freeing moment I’ve had in years. I had to ask forgiveness and say, “Lord, I’m sorry for not thinking big enough.”
Of course, that doesn’t guarantee our ministry is going to reach a hundred thousand people for the Lord. No, our impact may be much smaller than that. Still, there is no telling how God will use those we disciple! He can multiply our fruit far beyond what we can see. It’s not about numbers; it’s about us humbling ourselves to say, “Lord, how can you use me to bear much fruit? Lord, please, please do that.” I believe Jesus is saying to us as His children: “I want to bless your life and use you in ways you can’t imagine. So quit apologizing for it and step up to where you’ll bear much fruit.”
4. Faithfulness. If Jesus was trying to give his disciples a pep talk, he sure started his motivational speech with some de-motivational words. He said, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you…” That means we’ve got to surrender and live our whole life for Jesus. We can’t have hidden sins in our lives. We can’t play with sin. We can’t keep sinful habits hidden in the corner of our heart and also expect God to bless us. We’ve got to surrender everything. We’ve got to do what God said to Joshua:
“Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success: (Joshua 1:7b, 8 ESV).
Keys to Whatever
Obtaining whatever we want and need begins with asking. We have to ask the Father for it. And according to Matthew 7:7, we need to keep on asking, keep on seeking and keep on knocking until the door is opened or the answer is given.
Ultimately, the only way we will get what we want in ministry and in life is if our wants are His wants. May the words to this old hymn be our song and prayer for all of our lives…
All to Jesus I surrender
All to Him I freely give
I will ever love and trust Him
In His presence daily live
All to Jesus I surrender
Humbly at His feet I bow
Worldly pleasures all forsaken
Take me Jesus take me now