[Missions Lessons Index] [Prev Lesson] [Next Lesson]
I want to share some of the lessons that God taught me while Bret Wade and myself were on a missions trip to India. I hope that these will be a blessing to you.
This lesson was fun and a delight to learn. It is a lesson on teamwork. But it was also a lesson that the enemy very much did not want us to learn and one that he tried to sabotage at the beginning of the trip. All to often, God wants to teach His children this lesson, but the enemy comes along and sabotages the lesson. None the less, it is time for each of us to learn about unity and teamwork, so we can work together more effectively with God to do what the Father is doing.
Lesson - Teamwork
I have always been a big believer in teamwork. But God redefined my understanding of "team" while I was over there. I have know for a long time that God's heart is for team. I have been living and thinking team ever since 1994, when God first began to activate me in ministry.
But my understanding of team ministry was that there are many different players, each with different anointings and skills. Each person had their own part to play, and when we put all of the individual parts together, we get an effective ministry team. That was the only aspect of team ministry that I knew about. God showed me another aspect on this trip, a team where the players have very similar roles and giftings, and where they both work together doing the same thing to accomplish it, supporting and enhancing each other's work; each person led and directed by the Holy Spirit.
The Lord began this lesson by brining me to Luke 10. It was the scripture God had given me for this missions trip. It is the section where Jesus sent out the 70 two by two to everywhere that He was about to go, giving them power to heal the sick and cast out demons and proclaim God's message. The part I had really paid attention to was the authority to preach the gospel, heal the sick and cast out demons. I know, from this scripture, that God intended to move powerfully on this trip, that we would see miracles and healings and signs and wonders. But I really was not thinking about that passage in terms of team.
The trip out had been pretty rugged, and left me concerned about our effectiveness working together as a team. It was about 75 hours for me and about 80 for Bret, who had started from further away. It did not long for both of us to get exhausted from this seemingly never-ending journey. When Bret gets tired, he gets very untalkative and very quiet. But I did not know this about him. So when Bret began to get uncommunicative about 1/3 of the way through the trip, I began to wonder if I'd inadvertently done something to offend him. Also, I knew that he was new to ministering in a third world country. So I tried to make suggestions to lessen the culture shock and make him aware of the cultural differences. We were both exhausted from the long trip and the suggestions I intended as helpful appeared to be interpreted as if I was trying to boss him around. For the most part, they were not well received. So my feelings got hurt and I decided to stop trying to help Bret adjust to the culture shock and leave him on his own. By the time we finally arrived at our destination, I was starting to struggle very mildly with some attitudes about Bret. He did not appear to be interested in ministering to people. He did not seem interested in planning our outreaches together, and he was not very friendly. Bret checked his email and then went to his hotel room to take a nap. I spent the afternoon visiting with a few old friends from my previous trip and then checking my email. They brought me to my hotel room an hour before dinner to give me time to check in and change my clothes for the impromptu evening meeting that I was to speak at.
When I was in my room, I began to complain to the Lord about Bret and how we were not jiving as a team. I expected God to be sympathetic, but instead He rebuked me for giving the enemy some ground in the team that he had hand-picked and put together for this trip. Then God told me that I was misinterpreting Bret, that he was just exhausted and sick and in culture shock. I repented and began to intercede for Bret. Bret had originally planned to skip the Tuesday evening meeting because he had a terrible headache. But he got better after we prayed for him, and came to the meeting after all. I wanted to talk to Bret, but we did not have any time to talk privately with each other that evening.
When I was alone in my hotel room, laying in bed, the enemy tried to come in and heap condemnation on top of the rebuke the Lord had given me. The enemy also tried to tell me that Bret was God's man for the trip, and that my only role had been to facilitate the trip. Now that we were here, Bret was the one with the anointing for the trip and I would be totally useless. I started to listen to that and began to feel a hopelessness set in. Then the Lord began to speak to me about this. God reminded me that He had specificly sent both Bret and myself as a team, and that He would use both of us to accomplish His plans. Neither was more or less important than the other.. and it was crucial that we work together as a team to accomplish God's will in this area. The enemy was trying to come against God's plans by trying to undermine the team God had put together.
Then God brought me back to Luke 10 again. He pointed out how He had sent the disciples two by two to where He planned to visit. Then God asked me how many of us came on this trip. I replied, "Two, Lord." Then God told me that He was planning to come with a divine visitation to this area, and that is why He sent Bret and myself as a team of two. He told me that He was going to move in power through us, just as He had through the seventy in Luke 10. He told me that He was going to fit us together as a team and I would see and experience what He meant by team ministry. By the time the Lord finished talking to me, I was full of excitement and peace and hope. (Parts of this conversation were via an angelic visitation, which is quite an experience in and of itself!) I knew God had His hand on this tiny team of two and that He would work His glory through us because we were both yielded vessels.
The next morning they picked us up very early and took us to the Bible College for breakfast. Bret and I did not have any ministry commitments that morning or afternoon, it was set aside as a preparation time, and the first meeting of our four day crusade started that evening. We had a chance to sit down and talk. Satan had been attacking Bret in a similar manner that he'd attacked me.. Bret had become terribly homesick and the enemy was telling him that his only function on this trip was as a traveling companion, that God would only minister through me. The enemy had been trying to make both of us feel disqualified and defer ministry to the other. God had also met Bret, showed him the enemy's strategies and told him how we were God's appointed team and how He would work through both of us together. As we talked, the Lord knit us together and a tremendous unity developed between us. We began to seek the Lord for His direction for the four day crusade. The Lord did not give the whole plan to either of us. Instead He gave pieces to both of us. When we put them together we had this tremendous unified plan and the Holy Spirit witnessed to both of our spirits that it was God's direction for us. The plan had both of us co-teaching (or co-preaching) at the outreach meetings. God had given us the same themes for each day. We found that there was a Holy Spirit synergy between us. God would give me one piece of the teaching and give Bret the other and the two pieces would fit together and flow together tremendously. The first night we split the teaching 50-50. The next night Bret did most of it, but God also gave me a few key pieces. The third night was the inverse. The fourth night we split it evenly again. We really did not spend much time preparing or coordinating.. we could could not because we were so busy teaching morning and afternoon sessions for the pastors at the Bible college. But it could not have fit together better or flowed together more if we had spent hours rehearsing it. We were both being led of the Spirit and it all fit together, and God supplied power and anointing to back up the proclamation of His word. We were both given key things pretty much every meeting and everything God gave one of us fit in so well with what God gave the other. It was incredible. Bret did not have "his piece" and me have "my piece." Rather we both shared all of the pieces and God worked through both of us.
There were a few times when one of us got stuck and the other knew exactly what to do. I remember one time a demon surfaced as I prayed for healing for one woman. She began to shriek, claw at her own face and slug herself and everyone else around. I took authority and got demon to stop being physically violent. But it continued to make a scene, thrashing her arms around dramatically, , snarling and making noise... At first a man near her tried to grab her and restrain her, but she was too strong and broke away form him. However, when I took authority, she became physically weaker and I was able to restrain her arms. But she continued to make a skeptical. I had been wrestling with this demon for about 5 minutes and did not know what else to do. I was just considering sending someone to get Bret when suddenly he appeared, moving rapidly through the crowd that surrounded me. He came from "above" and thrust his hand on top of her head, and everything about his gestures communicated the authority of God. He said "In the name of Jesus.." and began to take authority over that disruptive spirit. After about 3 minutes he got it shut down. In fact, Bret scared the "poor demon" away!
There were times where Bret had a specific anointing for the moment and I feel into a supporting role. For instance, on the 2nd night of the four day crusade, God gave him the strategy for the corporate ministry time. The Lord gave him some words of knowledge for physical healing and people who had that condition were getting healed in their seats. Bret moved off of the platform to the area in front of it. God told me to get up and go down there as well. I did. He stood in the center and I stood on the side. He was getting some amazing words of knowledge, so I just stood them and watched, but was only about 10 feet away from in in case I was needed. Bret had not called anyone to come forward for laying on of hands, but they began to come forward anyhow. Soon they were mobbing him. God told me to go over to where he was, so I did. I had not stood there 2 minutes when Bret told me to lay hands on this woman (a place where he as a man could not touch her). He prayed into the microphone and she was healed. He had an earlier word about knee problems and all of the sudden a group of people swarmed up with knee problems who wanted hands laid on them. Bret told me to take them aside and pray for the knees while he continued to lead the meeting, so I did. All but one of them were healed. So Bret took the lead and I fell into a clearly supporting role, but there was still plenty of ministry to do and plenty of anointing for doing it.
There were other times when I took the lead and Bret supported. We did not discuss in advance who should lead what, we both just knew.
The Holy Spirit communicated the same thing to both of us. For instance, one night we started a two day crusade in a very rural village. We both just knew that Bret was to do the majority of the teaching that night. I did a little bit, but most of it fell to Bret. That was the night that the villege elders, all men, came to the meeting and all accepted the Lord. We had no idea the unsaved elders were going to attend the meeting, but God knew. And He knew that it would be easier for them to receive the gospel from a male than from a woman. So that is why God planned it that way, and communicated it clearly to both of us.
We both got to appreciate the other and felt very united as a team. It was so natural and easy to minister together. This was what the Lord meant when He told me He was going to teach me about team ministry. And it is wonderful to be an equal part of a team where all members are being lead and directed by the Holy Spirit.
It is much more fun than ministering on one's own, and it is easier, too.