FIFTEEN!

I recall the early days of stepping out on faith to begin this new journey called One Way Ministries full-time.  As I sought advice, searched for the right forms and started raising support, I felt like I may not ever get there.  Where that was I was not sure, but all I knew was it looked like a long road filled with small victories, I hoped!  Some of the most helpful wisdom came from the least likely conversations.  The most powerful victories always surprised us and came through people we did not even know were keeping up with the journey.  All the while I heard quotes about start ups echoing in the back of my head about three years and then five years.  I recall one friend sharing the reality that most start ups, whether in ministry or business, fail within the first three years so that was the target, not to crash and burn in three years.  I struggled through many sleepless nights and almost did anything to not fail in the first three years.  Little did I know what the Lord had in store for us.

I reflect over the past fifteen years now and realize His ways are much different than my ways and His plans are far better than my plans.  The years of One Way Ministries have been a journey of unbelievable experiences.  As I reflect and look forward to this new year I am reminded of some critical things that have helped us stay the course.

THE GOSPEL
The Gospel has been central to everything we have done.  From the earliest days we sought to present, share and teach the Gospel message in every occasion we had.  This has remained a cornerstone of every relationship and ministry effort we have stepped into.  It is the Gospel that has power to transform and redeem lives.  It is the Gospel that sets captives free.  It is the Gospel that softens the hardest heart and opens the eye of the blind.  Through the years we have been able to see the clear and present power of the Gospel hundreds of times as it moved in someone's life to bring salvation and reconciliation.

As we step into this new year and anticipate the new adventures that await us, we are committed once again to a passionate presentation of the Gospel in everything we do.  I look forward to the opportunities to train, equip, empower and mobilize the Body of Christ into the field of harvest.  The need is overwhelming, yet we have a God who is bigger than it all.  He is able to do far more than we can dream or imagine.  The primary issue is for each of us to obediently follow Him into the field whether it is across the street, across the city, across the country or around the world!

THE CHURCH
The local church has been our primary partner and avenue for every location the Lord has carried us. It is clear in Scripture that the local church is the primary tool here today that the Father is using to reach this world.  There is no second team or B team, it is the church who is the only team on the field with no one coming to be the back up or safety net.  That is why we as the church must focus our attention on Gospel ministry in the field.  No one goes to a football game to watch the teams huddle.  Likewise no one on the outside of the church is watching to be impressed by our huddle!  The world is watching to see how we flesh out the Great Commission and actually carry the Good News into the world.  The church is the most important element in the reaching of the lost, apart from the Gospel message itself.

This new year we will continue our commitment to the local church as we seek to assist with Gospel presentation, meeting urgent need and teaching of the Word.  In the coming months we will need many to join with us as we walk faithfully into the field of harvest along side the local churches in various contexts to help spread the Gospel and strengthen the Body.  This opportunity to watch the local church grow and be used by the Father is one of the most exciting things we observe and participate in on the field.

THE TEAM
The short-term team has been a passionate focus of our work for fifteen years.  We have not always done this well.  It is a struggle at times and can be de-railed at many spots along the way.  Yet, we have and will remain committed to the growth of the team during a trip.  The purpose of this is anchored in the understanding that a very small percentage of the members of a short-term team will sell all they have and move to another context.  This means that the primary location of ministry and mission for most team members is the local church in which the Lord has planted their lives.  Our goal then must be the challenging and growing of team members to be more effective and useful at home!

The coming months as we develop teams for the coming trips we will once again seek to challenge the members to be stretched by the Lord.  So many of us are far more capable of ministry than we allow ourselves to actually do.  We frequently make excuses for why I cannot meet this person's need because I do not know enough or have not been trained.  Often times we simply refer the bulk of ministry to the "full-time" ministers.  Yet all the while we know in our hearts that we each have been called to make disciples in every occasion of life.  So, join us this year for a challenging experience of stretching, growing and sharing so you too can be that tool in your home community to reach your world and teach the Word right where you are!

This year holds many exciting moments for each of us.  The journey is unseen yet it is secure by the Sovereign Lord and He has a plan for each of our lives.  Will you join us this year in surrendering to His will for life and ministry so that the Kingdom grows, needs are met and victories are won in the Name of the Savior, Jesus!  Come on, lets reach the world and teach the Word together this year!

In His Grip,
JT Turner
One Way Ministries
1wayministries.org