Can you clap?: How we can support people in ministry when they’re winning

img_3357If there’s anything that keeps ministries from thriving as they should, it’s this false idea of competition that we have. It seems odd to say that, as the church ought to be a place of support, but universally, we struggle with this. We struggle to clap when we see someone else winning. Something that should inspire us to greater heights, seeing God bless the hands and the works of our contemporaries, often sends us back to our perspective labs in an effort to outdo one another.

I know, this isn’t true with everyone, and if this isn’t you, you shouldn’t be offended. In fact, I caution you from being offended by proxy because someone you’re close to is like this. But we all know people that just don’t know how to clap when other people are winning. And it’s not just about being a “hater”. Maybe they’re impatient. Maybe they’re frustrated because their time hasn’t come yet. Honestly, they may be jealous because they desire a gift that someone else is thriving in. Whatever the reason, we in the Christian community have to get rid of this spirit.

There’s enough of us doing enough things that we should never have to go far to support one another. But if there’s something that I’ve found as I’ve gone into business for myself, it’s that people would rather support the name of a total stranger than someone they see each Sunday. Not in all cases, but definitely in many cases. This spiritual hostility isn’t new, however. In fact, Cain killed his brother simply because he didn’t have the capacity to clap for him instead of slaying him. Even after being warned by God, he allowed sin to overtake him. So a pertinent question then becomes, how many of us would rather kill the dreams of our brothers and sisters, through word of mouth or lack of support, rather than support it? Something to think about, for sure.

So with that being said, other questions become clear: Can you clap? Do you have the capacity to support, even when your time hasn’t come? I’m not asking you to get behind something that isn’t godly or isn’t being done in spirit, in truth, and with an effort towards excellency, but when you see a godly work going forth, one that represents God properly, can you clap?

Here a few suggestions on how we in various ministries can clap when someone else is winning:

Support with your presence and your finances – This is so very important as it pertains to helping others to succeed: Don’t just send out invitations to what you’ve got going on, attend something! And not just the major events so that you can be seen. Attend some small events, even when you’re not on program. And when you do show up, be engaged. Don’t drop in and then drop out. Your presence matters! Now, it’s understood that we can’t be everywhere doing everything. It’s also understood that financial situations sometimes prohibit us from supporting things with money. But when you can, do. It’s disappointing when you see people in places that cost 10 times what you asked for, but never supporting your endeavors.

If you see something you like, say so! – When did we become so particular about complimenting one another? People will see what you’re doing and will genuinely be impressed, but won’t say a word. You’ll post online about your latest efforts, and it seems as if it kills them to click a “like” button. Or, better yet, they’ll share random things on social media all day long, but never share your upcoming event or your product. We just ignore one another, sometimes out of jealousy, and sometimes just being oblivious. It costs us nothing to say “Well done”, “Nice job”, or “I’m praying for your success”.

When you don’t need it, refer, refer, refer! – As a writer, I come into contact with people that just aren’t avid readers. I respect that and I don’t expect them to buy books. But do you know someone that reads and would enjoy a book like mine? If I fried chicken for a living and you’re a vegetarian, does anyone you know eat good chicken? The point here is that even when we don’t need or use certain things, we know somebody that does. Even when you don’t know somebody offhand, sometimes people will ask you about a product that you know a brother or sister offers. Why not refer where you can’t support personally? There’s more than one way to sow and I believe we miss many opportunities to support in other ways.

Your only competition is you! – Once you realize that another’s success doesn’t hinder yours, you free yourself and you’re able to support. Too many of us are under the impression that supporting someone else takes something away from us. But I’m here to tell you that there’s enough room for all of us, even if our gifts are similar. God made us just unique enough to be similar, but different.

Don’t attempt duplication when you don’t have the anointing! – We sometimes don’t know how to collaborate. This goes both ways. It’s true on the end of the person with the gift and the person that’s being asked to support. First of all, if you know someone that does what you need, use them! You don’t have to start your own thing just to spite them or to prove that you can do what they can do, because sometimes, you really can’t. Sometimes, that’s not your anointing.

At the same time, if you’re gifted, don’t try and overcharge people. Be firm on what your gift is worth, but be fair. Word of mouth can be a blessing or a burden. Also, I know we all like to make a splash, but instead of always looking for big names, why not help someone build a name. We must never forget that we all started somewhere and someone had to take a chance on us. There’s something in us that desires to reach certain levels so that we can be in elite company. While there’s nothing wrong with that, there is something wrong with us when we don’t desire to see people come up the same way we did.

Avoid token or quid pro quo “friendships” – There is a difference between business and friendship, and we must be clear about what we want from people. If it’s business, then support is determined simply by whether or not you have what I need and whether or not the price and quality is right. However, friendship is much different. Friends support your startup work as well as work you’ve perfected. I have friends that have bought every book that I’ve ever written. I don’t know if they’ve read them or not, but when they’re released, they buy them. That’s friendship to me. We shouldn’t choose our “friends” based on what we can get out of them. That’s not friendship. That’s a business arrangement.

 

Overall, we must understand in ministry that we don’t lose when someone else is winning. The only person that loses is the devil, and we should all be praying for his downfall. The Bible tells us in Ecclesiastes 9:11 that time and chance happens to us all. Simply put, even if it seems as if someone is ahead of you, God will offer you a chance at prosperity one day. Don’t waste your time of preparation being jealous or non-supportive of others. Don’t be like Cain, with a poor countenance, plotting your brother’s downfall. Listen to what God told Cain and do well so that you too may be received.

1 Corinthians 12:25-26 tells us that there should be harmony among those that are in the Body of Christ. That if one suffers, we all suffer, but if one is honored, we should all be glad. We must remember that we’re all on the same team and there’s enough for us all to be well fed. 

If we really believe that there’s plenty room at the cross as it relates to salvation, then the same God that is making room for us in Heaven will make a prosperous way for all of us here on earth. If we really believe that Jesus could feed the multitude with the bare minimum, then we should believe that He can supply every need to every entrepreneurial endeavor, sustaining us all. But He won’t do it without our involvement.

The key is for us to support one another. There’s no room for competition in ministry. After all, it’s not our Kingdom that we’re working for anyway. The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof. The world and they that dwell therein. So be a good steward. Work on your dreams. Support others as they do the same. And clap when they win.

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