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Max Barnett underscores spiritual multiplication

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP)–A short term of ministry is no excuse for not multiplying spiritually, said University of Oklahoma Baptist Student Union director Max Barnett.
“I don’t know where you’re serving today, but don’t ever use the excuse, ‘Well, I’ve only been here two years,'” Barnett said in a Sept. 25 chapel address at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Kansas City, Mo. “That is only long enough to absolutely see someone’s life transformed forever.”
Taking as his text 1 Thessalonians 1:5-10, Barnett noted how the Apostle Paul had spent no more than two and a half years in Thessalonica, yet he left behind a multiplying congregation.
“It’s not a matter of how long someone is there,” Barnett said. “It’s what can you be used of God to do in a person’s life in a very brief time.”
Barnett called on students to implement the principles outlined in the Thessalonians passage which gave rise to Paul’s phenomenal success as a minister. Barnett began in verse five, noting how Paul had shared the gospel with the Thessalonians in the power of the Holy Spirit.
“If you are going to have a multiplying ministry — if God is going to use you (to) see people come to Christ, see them built up in the faith, become trained and developed so they in turn can reach others — the first thing you must learn to do is … to share the gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit,” Barnett said. “You must share the message, and when you do, there is phenomenal power in that message.”
Ministers who wish to multiply themselves also must live their lives in such a way as to set an example for young believers, Barnett said, citing Paul’s reference in verse five to his lifestyle among the Thessalonians. Barnett said the minister’s life must be exemplary in every area, including speech.
“I want to say this to you guys here, and I hope you’ll make a decision,” Barnett told the seminarians. “I made decision many, many years ago in my life. I never want to tell a joke or anything that is the least off-color. I never, ever want somebody repeating something that’s the least bit off-color and saying, ‘Max Barnett told me that.'”
Barnett said he believes the minister’s lifestyle is the most important element in ministry.
“Wherever you go, whatever ministry you have, there’s no more important ministry that you’ll have than living the Christian life, walking with God, allowing other people to see your life,” Barnett said. “For example, I want to ask you this: How’s your devotional life? You want other people to get up and read the Bible each day and meet with God. Well, how’s your devotional life?”
Moving on to verse six, Barnett called attention to how Paul modeled the Christian life, then encouraged others to imitate him. Barnett challenged listeners to follow Paul’s example, noting how the young Thessalonian believers in time learned to follow Christ for themselves.
“When people become Christians, the question they have is, ‘How do I live the Christian life?'” Barnett said. “We say, ‘I’m glad you asked. You follow me. Here’s what you do.’ You have to get people close enough long enough for them to be transformed.”
The result of such a ministry, Barnett said, is seen in verses seven through 10, where Paul states that the Thessalonians were now sharing the gospel and modeling the Christian life to others. Barnett said he has seen the same results in his ministry, for as he has traveled across the world, he has found believers who have come to Christ through those he discipled.
Referring to the early days of his ministry in Oklahoma, Barnett described how he had prayed for God to give him a few men to work with. Two of the men God led to him were Bob Anderson and Brett Yohn. After leaving OU, both men went on to pioneer BSU work at other campuses — Anderson at Kansas State University and Yohn at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. They have continued to serve there the past 25 years, Barnett said, where they have reached many others for Christ.
“This process is called spiritual multiplication,” Barnett said. “I’ve lived long enough to see it work. There is nowhere in the world that you can go that this will not work.”

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  • Clinton Wolf