When we begin our ministry journey we are full of hope, dreams, and optimism. We begin fully embracing the fact that God has called us to this adventure and jump in with heart and soul. A few months later many leaders are surprised to encounter the reality that it’s difficult leading people. Many of us are shocked by politics and attitudes held by women and men we thought would be our biggest supporters. Ministry can be messy because it involves leading unpredictable and ever-changing people. Here are 5 things I wish I had of known when starting ministry…
- Lead from the call not from the approval of the crowd // personally I enjoy people “liking” what I do in ministry but that can never the the basis for how I lead. I serve in ministry because God called me to this not because of my popularity rating.
- Empower volunteers to be pastors // our volunteers need to serve with us to do significant ministry not only do tasks we do not want to do. When you build a ministry around volunteers who are empowered to do ministry as pastors then your ministry becomes a movement of hope not a one man or woman show. Years after my start in ministry, this is why we have built our family ministry around the power of great small group leaders!
- Personally plug into a small group // I ask people to be in community through small groups so why would I not need real adult relationships around me weekly to help me grow spiritually. Leadership in isolation will destroy your soul.
- Rely more on God’s strength than my gifts // when I trust and depend on God’s power more than my small gifts God always does greater things and get’s the credit!
- It’s OK to be a change agent // I felt like a constant rebel for pushing for change early in ministry. I wish someone had of encouraged me to keep pushing and thinking outside the box. The best thing we can offer the churches we serve is to push them to be better even if they are not asking for it. It’s fine to get fired for trying to reach people for Jesus and help the church look ahead!
What are some things you wish people had helped you understand about ministry when starting your journey serving others?
I would add that your volunteers want to get to know YOU and you get to know THEM in addition to what you can bring to the table. Take time for getting to get to know each other a bit. I would also add that it’s ok not to make change right away. Sometimes, change is necessary right away but oftentimes it isn’t. Get to know how things work and why things are set up the way they are before you set about change.
YES, 100% yes Katie…thanks for commenting!
Great stuff Michael. I think the concept of encouraging volunteers to be pastors might be using language differently then I would choose but the concept of having them take ownership and invest in students more than simply attending is an idea I can buy 🙂
I am in the early stages of ministry- and I think the third point would be important and I would amplify it. I would say the value of continually being challenged to dig into Gods word myself and having others ahead of me challenge my theology!
Instead of trying to plan the next event I would love to be reading and growing and investing in people. The more I press into the infinite God I believe the more I love and glorify and enjoy him.
Then with the people around me: They aren’t going to be reaching out to me—at least the bigger fish won’t—I need to continually pursue them in the midst of their lives and help them see Jesus more. I need to reach out to them. If I am not meeting at least one, maybe two people a day I don’t think I am doing the job I am called to.
Great article Michael!
Thanks David, you are on point…thanks for taking time to comment!