Going or Sent?

Going or Sent?

Tychicus, a beloved brother, faithful minister, and fellow servant in the Lord, will tell you all the news about me. I (Paul) am sending him to you” (Colossians 4:7-8).

Paul endorsed and sent Tychicus to the Colossians. His letter created favor for him in the eyes of those in Colosse and opened doors that might otherwise have been shut to him. We too will increase our trust in the eyes of people if we are sent by reputable influencers into our assignments. 

I am connected to many church leaders and see firsthand the importance of our connection to mentors, spiritual fathers and mothers, and peers in ministry. We weren’t meant to live or minister from isolation or to start from scratch. Whenever I can, I encourage  them to increase their accountability to key people who can confirm they are: 

  • Living a life of integrity
  • Believing sound doctrine
  • Treating their family and others with love and respect

We do not want to just go into all the world but, if, at all possible, we are to be sent into all the world. 

Romans 10:13-15 is an incredible passage of Scripture. “For ‘whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!’”

When we look at this passage in reverse order, we see a powerful pattern for those in ministry. 

  1. And how shall they preach unless they are sent?
  2. And how shall they hear without a preacher? 
  3. And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? 
  4. How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed?
  5. Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

There is rich truth in these steps to help us understand the process of bringing salvation and breakthrough to lives. 

How shall they preach unless they are sent? Being sent implies someone is backing us with their endorsement and their blessing. Certainly, God is our primary “sender,” but purposing to be sent by people we respect requires us to: 

  • Intentionally pursue long-term relationships in our lives
  • Be accountable in our lifestyle and doctrine
  • Prioritize relationships above goals and vision

Who is sending you? Who really knows you? Who can say about you: “I trust his heart and lifestyle. You can trust him too”? As you clarify who these senders are, it would be wise to deepen your relationship with them and find out what concerns, if any, they may have in sending and endorsing you to others. 

I realize some of us may be in situations where we have not had healthy leaders in our lives, which has greatly hindered being sent in the way I am describing. If this is the case, then I suggest you: 

  • Trust God to bring needed spiritual fathers and mothers into your life
  • Pursue healthy relationships and accountability with leaders and peers in your life now
  • Find a leader to serve and build trust with
  • Move forward in what you believe God has called you to do – start small to see what He blesses and where you have favor
  • Move forward equally in character & integrity and in outward expressions of ministry

Going or sent? Let’s purpose to be sent in every situation possible. It will dramatically increase the likelihood we will have longevity in our leadership and influence, and it will lessen greatly the likelihood of our leadership being dysfunctional and hurtful to others. 

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Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.