God cares that pastors and ministry administrators have their houses in order. How do we know this? Jesus put the temple in order twice. After performing His first miracle at the start of His ministry, we read about the first time in John 2:13-16.
When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple court, He found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So He made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; He scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves, He said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!”
Then during Passion Week leading up to His crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus did it again as reported in Matthew 21:12-17 (cf. Mark 11:15-18 and Luke 19:45-47). But notice that Matthew includes the blind, lame, and children in the scene.
And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and He overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.” And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and He healed them. But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that He did, and the children crying out in the temple, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they were indignant, and they said to Him, “Do you hear what these are saying?” And Jesus said to them, “Yes; have you never read, “‘Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise’?” And leaving them, He went out of the city to Bethany and lodged there.
Taken together, I believe Jesus has a message for pastors and ministry administrators which has two distinct parts. After sharing them, I will point you to a tool to help you put your house in order where you are to expand your reach and impact.
Close the Markets to Open Ministry
Jesus started His ministry by shutting down the efforts that aimed to bring extra revenue to the temple beyond their humble gifts. Why? Money does not grow and sustain ministry; God does. Sadly, many churches and ministries today activate programs to generate extra cash off God’s people from this perspective. Instead, if we keep the market mentality in the marketplace and remove this mindset from God’s house, it opens the door for greater ministry. Let me explain.
After cleaning out the market mentality we see Jesus replace it with a ministry mentality. When people came to the temple, Jesus taught them many things, and He loved it when they gave sacrificially (Mark 12:41–44 and Luke 21:1–4). Even so, today, let us have a ministry mentality. We should provide good teaching and welcome giving. In so doing, churches and ministries appear as “houses of prayer” where people experience edification and blessing as they come to pray and give!
Minister to the Marginalized
I pointed us to Matthew’s account as He includes the blind, the lame, and the children in the story. As we watch Jesus closely, we see that only when God’s house is in order do His workers serve the underserved, which includes the blind, the lame, and the children. Related texts tell us that the chief priests and scribes tended toward overlooking or even exploiting such groups (Mark 12:38-40 and Luke 20:45-47). But not Jesus. He does the opposite, and so should we!
Once the market mentality is replaced with a ministry mentality, we see that it opens the door for ministry to the once-marginalized people. The blind, lame, and children experience healing and offer praise because that’s what happens when God’s house is a house that welcomes everyone, receives generous gifts, and offers prayer and service. Pause to ponder how putting your house in order might expand your audience to add those whom Jesus loves who may get overlooked.
A Tool To Help Put Your House in Order
The governance and administration of churches and ministries is complex work. That’s why GTP created the Diagnostic Tool. God’s servants from 42 countries have answered the 36 questions and downloaded templates in 5 languages. Find it here for free today. It helps you put your house in order and positions you to increase your ministry reach and impact.
This article was originally posted on the Christian Leadership Alliance Blog on 7 April 2023.