Everyone once in a while I like to just review my life and attitude toward ministry. Below are a few things I’ve found true.
1. Seminary preparation for ministry is crucial for ministry success.
I didn’t grow up in the church. So when I sensed the call the ministry, I had to go to seminary. I know, some pastors can do ministry without seminary. But I find those instances to be rare. While people don’t need to know Greek in the pew, their pastor(s) should not how to mine the riches of scripture. Seminary makes this easier. For me, the seminary experience was not just great because of the classes I took, but it was great because of the journey.
The best class I took with not in the course catalog. It as at a table in the professors lounge. Dr. Daryl Eldridge led a group of us preachers not in a preaching class. He led us to know God and ourselves. He modeled for us what leading a small group was supposed to be like. Seminary paid off. I’m glad I went.
2. People are the business of the church.
If people really are the business of the church, and I believe scripture teaches they are, then much of what the church does should focus on knowing people. I’m convinced most churches focus on people at shallow levels and that is a main reason for shallow disciples. Church value programs over people.
3. Expositional, biblical preaching that is driven with images is crucial to disciple making with depth.
I’ve studied all kinds of preaching. Many different styles have proven effective for church growth. I do believe topical preaching that is not scripture heavy will not feed people. People need scripture, not great sermon points or action points. They need to know Bible. What must be learned and implemented is that biblical preaching and teaching should have an image that people leave worship with. Yes, an object lesson is crucial. I’m trying to up my game without being goofy or having listeners say, “he’s trying too hard.” I’ve seen TV preachers who just try to be cool or hip. You can’t be from the streets of the inner city if you’re from upper class Texas mega city. Sorry. I’ve found every preacher must find his style and hone it in to the context he is in.
4. The pastor(s) do not have to do it all.
I’ve found peace in letting other great commission minded people lead the church. I don’t go to every meeting. There’s no need. If you’re a pastor, do the same and focus and what scripture and purpose tell you to do.
5. Sabbath and family time are not worth sacrificing on the altar of ministry.
Take a day off. Rest. Turn off your cell phone. Go fish or golf. I’ve learned that taking time off is crucial to ministry success. Trust God.
6. Senior adults payed the way, they deserve respect.
I attend two Life Groups at our church. One is off-campus. It’s in a home and where I build relationships. The other is an on-campus group. It more content focused but does some relational stuff. Point? I looked around the on-campus group today and it’s all seniors. It clicked to me that they have paid the price for the church in America to be in the position she is in today. They deserve respect and shouldn’t be abandoned. While they have preferences, they also have a lot to offer.
7. Managing relationships is just as important as pulling off ministry events.
Dr. Ken Hemphill was correct: 85% of ministry success/effectiveness is dependent of how pastors relate to people. Only 15% is dependent on technical ability. The best events in town don’t make disciples. Winning people to Christ and doing life with them (with an open Bible) makes them grow.
8. It may take a lot of money to run the church, but it doesn’t take a lot of money to make disciples.
9. Mission, vision, and strategy cannot be ignored, but neither are they required in the first year of ministry.
Only so much can happen in the first year of ministry. Some important things need to happen. Some things are optional. No when to take your foot off the gas and let time go by so God can work.
10. Pastoral disciple making is required but takes time.
Again, a pastor can do only so much in a year. But disciple making is the main thing. Every pastor should be in a small group for his own spiritual health. Pastors also need to make disciples by leading in small formal, but mostly informal opportunities. Remember, some things take time.