Don't Retread, Take New Territory

by Corey Buckner in Ministry Writings
November 07, 2018

"For we do not want to boast about work already done in someone else’s territory." - 2 Corinthians 10:16b

I love this statement made by Paul. It's one of those passages that I rarely think about, but when I encounter it in my reading I ALWAYS want to get up and shout. It's a very simple statement, but a very poignant one for those who have a ministerial calling on their lives.

In 2 Corinthians chapter 10 Paul is telling the people of Corinth that he has already reached them with the Gospel. He makes it clear that he can already boast of them being inside of the sphere of service that God has assigned them; but that that is not his aim Paul says he wanted to accomplish even more. Paul tells the Corinthians that he wants them to grow so much in their faith that they will be able to preach in regions beyond them.

What Paul is saying is two-fold. First he is telling them that he will not be content returning to the same place, preaching the same message and getting the same results. He tells the Corinthians that he wants them to grow in faith so that he can move on to other regions. Paul says that his hope is that as their faith grows, their sphere of activity grows and as the result they are able to reach a larger audience. He says that it is okay for them to boast of work done by other people, so go do something for him to boast about.

Paul is making it clear that his goal in writing and teaching them is to raise up leaders from among the Corinthians who will aid in expanding their sphere of influence. He is not trying to create a group of people who are hopelessly dependent on him as their leader to continue disseminating the Word of God to them. Paul is essentially telling them, "Get this... so we can move on to other regions."

Which is in fact the second point to what Paul is saying to them. Paul says they don't want to boast of work that has already been done in someone else's territory. He wants to go into even more regions beyond where they already are. I love this, because many of us are familiar what it's like to be involved with a ministry that is hopelessly attached to the old landmark. Some ministries have moved beyond their heyday and instead of moving into new territory they feverishly cling onto the past, ever-boasting about what the forefathers of their ministries accomplished.

Paul is making it clear that he has NO INTENTIONS of becoming like that and is telling the listeners not to either. I would encourage this generation of leaders to have the same mentality. Don't focus on territory that has already been taken; and don't become so fixated on victories already won by people other than yourself. It's great that your denomination was started by a great man of God, but that isn't you. That work has been done already and is finished... so what's next.

YOU are what is next and your calling is in the NEXT place. Your calling is in the EXPANSION territory, not the territory that we can all already boast of. God does not need you to redo what He has already accomplished with other people. God is looking to the next territory with the next set of leaders to accomplish the next set of victories. Don't miss your call looking to setup shop in conquered territory by boasting about the accomplishments of others. Go, launch out and expand the Kingdom of God by expending our sphere of activities and reaching NEW territories.

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