One of the greatest joys in ministry that God has afforded me was early in my ministry. God opened the door for me to lead hundreds of students on mission trips around the world, as well as on my field of service. These trips afforded me the opportunity to pour into many students lives and have a profound impact on them. Perhaps being out of their comfort zone made them more vulnerable, but for whatever reason these young people opened up to me, and about some of the most deep issues you can imagine. I am certain, many have never told another soul what they shared with me.
Many of these relationships turned into ongoing mentoring relationships through school and even now, from time to time, they will reach out for some advice or encouragement.
We did our best to train these students on cross cultural ministry, the specific ministries they would be involved in, expectations, etc. But a part of every trip was training on security. We made very clear the dangers and pitfalls that potentially await, and thankfully we never had any major problem. But I would have to reiterate to them that they always need to be prepared that the usually fun loving, jovial, joking and teasing Ron may have to switch to a person they need to take quite seriously in a potentially dangerous position. And without warning and without explanation, they need to respond quickly and without question, they will have to trust me. Their life may depend on it.
In fifteen years of doing trips, I only needed to get that serious a couple of times. Thankfully, even those two occasions we were able to escape danger. Ironically, most didn’t even see the danger they were in.
That’s why every trip needs a leader, one who understands culture, dangers, and can “see around corners.” God hasn’t wired everybody that way, but He has wired me that way. And though sometimes the rest of the team didn’t, and may never understand why I did something, it was for their good.
“And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.” Colossians 1:18, KJV
I’ve been thinking about all that is happening in the world a lot lately. I have no doubt God is in control, but often we wish, He would let us know the big picture, that we could see around corners like He does. We have prophecy and end times to let us know what the future holds in the Bible, but often we just don’t understand how this season fits into a “God plan.”
Paul hopes to put it into perspective in Colossians 1. Paul says, in case we ever doubt, Jesus is first, first, first! He is the beginning, He was the firstborn, and He is first in rank (preeminent). That’s why He is the “head.” He not only “get’s it,” He made it and is over it. How could we not think that He is fully in control and fully capable to lead us. He is competently our head and we will find satisfaction as a member of His body, to carry out our task in it without questioning or fearing His. There is one Head, He is it. No other heads make up His body, and He makes decisions and guides all the members to one unified goal, in spite of us not knowing at times what that is, or even what the other members of the body are doing.
So trust in the Head. Resting in His wisdom. Even if you don’t understand it, trust that He does. Continue steadfast as a member of His body.
Dr. Ronald J. Barnes Jr.
President / CEO
March 9, 2022