Where Are Your Oxen?

One of the hardest things for many of us to do is to ask for help! However, ministry is never a one-person show! We need help! Without it, the church is anemic, and we’re exhausted.

The church is supposed to function as a body made of many functioning parts. We are a family where all of us have a place and purpose.


A while back I read a devotional by Joseph Sangl on this one verse: “Where there are no oxen, the manger is empty; but from the strength of an ox comes an abundant harvest.” Proverbs 14:4

Notice there are two outcomes. You either end up with an empty manger or an abundant harvest. What is the difference? The oxen. The help!

A farmer knows the effectiveness of some good oxen, although today it would be a John Deer tractor. We all could learn from their example. Too often we as pastors are attempting to do it alone without the strength and power of oxen. Sangl writes, “the most powerful oxen any leader can have are strong leaders aligned with the vision and [who] are willingly yoked together to move it forward.”

So where are your oxen? Who will come alongside you to help complete the mission? Here are three essential steps all of us need to take to get “oxen” help.

  1. Share the vision clearly. Start with the why. People need to know the “why” before they will commit to the “what.” It’s worth noting that recruiting through guilt may fill the position for a Sunday, but over the long haul, it’s unsustainable; commitment to a shared vision is not only more compelling but also more rewarding and therefore more likely to stick.
  2. Invite them personally. Don’t rely on Sunday announcements and general appeals for help. Take time to meet with others one on one. When asking, make sure they don’t feel pressured. Let them know they are valued, and you want the best for them. Matching their gifting with ministry needs speaks value!
  3. Spend time with them regularly. When Jesus appointed his disciples, he did so that they “might be with him” (Mark 3:14). Asking for help is never about a task, but a relationship. I love what Howard Henricks used to say, “You can impress from a distance, but you can only impact up close.” Get close to your leaders and work together as a team.


Maybe this week is the week you gather your leaders together and tell them that they are needed, just like the oxen. Cast a fresh vision and let them know it’s time to MOOOOOOVE forward!

It’s always easier to cast a fresh vision when you’re feeling filled yourself. What better way to fill your own vision bucket than to attend the Global Leadership Summit Simulcast with other pastors of the Pacific Conference on August 8 and 9. It’s not too late to register (but you’re running out of time!) Contact Nancy to register.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s