Intimacy Before Impact is a strategic approach to life-giving ministry that contains four major themes that have a high impact on ministry outcomes. This approach requires developing an intimate and personal relationship with Jesus Christ first before doing ministry. In our day and time it is very easy to have a successful ministry without including Jesus himself. This approach emphasizes our dependence on Jesus and his re-imaging of our being into his likeness—before we start our doing. Then, and only then, out of our reimaged being flows our doing.
Hudson Taylor—the founder of China Inland Mission—discovered through much toil and effort that abiding with Christ was the key to success with his ministry. He found it necessary to listen to God first before doing anything. This is a great model of ministry for us to follow, and it reinforces the concept of Intimacy Before Impact.
Here are the four key components for accomplishing the Intimacy Before Impact model.
- Developing intimacy with God first before impacting others.
Before we do any ministry activity, we are called to abide in Christ. As we spend time with Christ, he reveals himself to us, cleanses us, and makes us more like Him.
- Listening to and following God’s lead.
As we abide in Christ, He ministers through us to others. Outcomes of ministry flow out of the relationship we nurture with Christ. After all, He alone can convict and soften the heart of a man and woman. In fact, most of ministry is His handiwork; our labor is simply to obey his lead.
- Blending the heart and head.
It is not enough simply to know and dispense information, for facts can prevent us from getting to the real heart issues. Neither is it enough to have only compassion, for sympathy can keep us from speaking difficult truths. We must blend heart and head, so we can speak the truth with love.
- Being kingdom-focused.
Finally, our overall focus must be on our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, not the issue of abortion over other human injustice issues. If we are issue-focused, we will focus on the elimination of that issue wherever that may be around the world. While this is a noble calling, it is more important to be kingdom-focused. When our focus is on God’s kingdom, we will be certain to accomplish much more than the elimination of the issues that we are facing—for we will be introducing individuals to the loving Creator and building His kingdom on earth for eternity. We must be concerned for the souls of those that we are serving (including their preborn children) as well as their physical well-being.
It is my prayer that our love for the Lord and making His name known among the nations is our highest calling and focus. The more we spend time with Him alone the more this becomes our heartfelt desire. I am also convinced that if we follow this approach to ministry we will see greater impact, because we’re not relying on ourselves but rather we are depending on the power of God.
Intimacy Before Impact is, without doubt, our strongest approach to accomplishing the mission that God has placed before us.
This post was originally published on April 13, 2015.