Do You Have a Stream Ministry?

Sometimes it can be hard to see your ministry objectively, but every now and then it’s important to take a step back and see where your ministry stands and look at the fruit it’s producing — is it a pond or a stream? What’s the difference between a pond ministry and a stream ministry? I’ll tell you.

Pond ministry

Having a pond ministry is an easy trap to fall into. Ponds attract and keep those who have been Christians since they were young. Typically, a pond simply has Christians swimming around together without ever venturing out to reach others.

Pond ministries are pretty for a season and may even look healthy at a glance, but there’s no fresh water. Don’t be fooled by the large numbers attracted to a pond because without a channel out, eventually, algae begins to grow and everything dies. In order to have a truly effective ministry, you need to be fulfilling the Great Commission. “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations” Matthew 28:19. That requires leaving the pond and venturing out.

There’s nothing wrong with Christians getting together with other Christians, but at some point, you need to be making disciples. If not, we’re not doing what we’ve been put here to do. If you’re not allowing fresh water into your ministry, you can never grow and reach your full potential.

Stream ministry

The healthy ministry alternative is a stream ministry. Stream ministries are also full of Christians, but they aren’t exclusively swimming in their own area. These students and leaders are swimming alongside those who are far from Christ. Their ministry is constantly going somewhere new because they’re constantly reaching new people.

Living out the Great Commission seems as natural as breathing because they’re constantly in an attitude of disciple-making. Their relationships with other Christians are still strong, but they’re adding others to the ranks on a regular basis. In return, their faith is always growing.

Unlike a pond ministry, a stream ministry is clean and drinkable—not catching dirt. With a pond, the dirt is trapped because it has nowhere else to go. A stream remains fresh with new water constantly running through it.

We don’t realize it, but we often stunt our own ministry’s growth. With a stream ministry, we’re always bringing new people to faith and sending them back out. They’re not stuck in a pond, they’re free to swim.

Is yours a pond ministry or a stream ministry? Knowing the difference is key to its growth.

What type of ministry is yours?

If I’m in a desert, I don’t want to drink stagnant water. I want fresh, flowing water. As a minister, what are you focusing on? Are you content with building just a pond of believers or do you want to provide your students with fresh water? One day we’ll give an account for how we spent our time and what we focused on. I know I want to be able to say that I helped students reach as many people for Christ and helped them reach their potential. Open up your pond and join a stream.