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The Frontline Nature of Backbone Work

(I wrote this article in 2021, but never ended up publishing it. Reading over it again, I think it still worth sharing. I hope you enjoy the read.)

We were deep in conversation with friends who were sharing about their ministry. They shared story after story after story of precious lives and how they were able to help them and see improvement. I was so excited with them but at the same time there was also a little nudge saying, “what about me?” Why don’t I have these kinds of stories? Does my work matter?” I went home and talked to God about my thoughts and struggles. Comparison kills passion. Comparison kills joy. I knew that I had to get my heart right, but I also really needed to see things from God’s perspective again.

When I first joined the Media team here at YWAM Perth, I remember sitting in one of our weekly Friday Night Meetings listening to our Birth Attendant School sharing stories and testimonies from their outreach. At that time, I had asked God a similar question: “Why can’t I do things like this? Why can’t I be out on the frontlines, helping people directly and practically?” And God spoke to me, “But you are. Through what you do, you are a part of every single school and ministry running on this base.” My mind was blown, I had never seen it this way!

As I was sitting there that evening, talking to God about this same topic again, He gave me the same answer in a different way. I realised that some people are called to do this – to help and bring change to individual children. But what I do releases many different ministries, schools, and individuals, to do these kinds of works. Most of the time, I am not out there, practically meeting people. But what we do with our team releases many others, brings grace to their work, and enables them to do what they are doing. What a privilege. What a joy.

I was listening to a podcast recently where the guest described his work as a graphic designer in a missions organisation as “frontline work”. I was surprised and challenged at the same time. We do not normally label our work as frontline work – that is what people do who go to the hard places, who share the gospel in closed nations. What the designer was talking about though, is that we cannot just see our work as secondary. That contradicts what the Bible says about the church being like a body, with many parts and many functions. Our role is to support, to do things that release others to do the work they are called to do. But support does not mean secondary. It is a frontline battle in its own right. I think of it as a battle in clear communication – our heart is to communicate as clearly as possible, inform as thoroughly as we can, so our audience can make an informed decision to Know God and Make Him Known. Our vision is that they would be equipped to know God more personally, but also to inspire everyone to make Him known however God calls them to do that.

We do what we are called to, so that others can freely do what they are called to.

This last week, we were creating a flyer for our ARMS ministry – Australian Relief and Mercy Services. It's a ministry that goes and practically helps families in need in Perth. Often, social workers will call to inform us of a practical need, and we will send a team to do whatever needs to get done – gardening, decluttering, cleaning, even child minding if a new mum needs a break. Through this, we can show that Jesus cares, He is aware, and He sees these people in their time of crisis. This flyer will help to get the word out to more social workers in the city, but also to people generally during a larger fundraiser that the ministry is setting up in a few weeks’ time. Our frontline for this project was to represent this ministry as clearly as possible, visually accurate and pleasing, removing as many communication barriers as possible as we were creating this design.

Acksios is currently working on a project where we are moving all our server storage and emails to cloud services. It's a huge project, moving literally hundreds of individual staff accounts, but also all the different schools and ministries running here at YWAM Perth. In the end though, it will empower our schools and ministries to work so much more efficiently. They will be flexible to access things no matter where they are in the world and will be able to improve their workflows and internal communication. The staff on base are excited to see this happen! The frontline for Acksios and his staff is to help YWAM Perth run smoothly from the IT side of things.

We are currently working on putting together a new colour scheme for YWAM Perth. Over two years ago, God spoke to Acksios about the priest's breastplate that they wore when they were ministering in the temple. God said that the precious stones on the breastplate are like our schools and ministries and that our Media team should carry them with the same care as the priests would have carried the twelve tribes of Israel in their heart.

That is what we aspire to do – be the greatest cheerleaders, grace bringers, and communicators for the people who are called to go out to the individual. Be their backbone.


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