Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Are You Making Ministry More Discouraging than Necessary?

Over time I realized I was making this more difficult than it had to be. I sat down and thought about what I wanted to do in terms of one on one discipleship. I asked myself some hard questions and then made some adjustments. Soon I came up with four important categories that I wanted to fill my time with. And, as it turns out, it worked. I am seeing more fruit and I am more encouraged. And, the hunch worked: I actually was able to better serve guys whose spiritual wheels may be stuck in the mud.

 

The struggles associated with pastoral ministry are well documented. It’s a hard job. There is ample discouragement. Pastors know this going in and learn it first hand as we serve. Here I don’t want to point out what we already know as much something that may be less obvious.

Ministry doesn’t need to be as discouraging as you may be letting it be.

Let me give you an example from my experience. I planted the church where I serve nearly 6 years ago. In this context I found myself wearing a lot of hats. But in the course of studying to preach, working on the church website, developing leaders, acquiring a building, writing a constitution, and doing a fair bit of counseling, I found myself wearing one hat over and over again. I am talking about being the one designated to spark revival in the life of the guy who seems largely apathetic to the things of God. And after meetings I would only want to have more meetings; the time with them only increased my burden for them. Often I would look at my weekly schedule and feel discouraged. Wanting to develop leaders and disciple new converts, I found myself with a schedule filled with meetings with guys who weren’t too keen to talk about the Bible.

Over time I realized I was making this more difficult than it had to be. I sat down and thought about what I wanted to do in terms of one on one discipleship. I asked myself some hard questions and then made some adjustments. Soon I came up with four important categories that I wanted to fill my time with. And, as it turns out, it worked. I am seeing more fruit and I am more encouraged. And, the hunch worked: I actually was able to better serve guys whose spiritual wheels may be stuck in the mud.

Here are the categories, non-Christian, young believers, leaders, and those struggling. I each explain below.

Non-Christians

I love explaining the gospel to non-Christians. It lights me up and gives me a unique joy. But I’ve noticed that pastoral ministry does not provide many evangelism opportunities. I need to make and take these. Having a category for the non-Christian may seem like a no-brainer, but it wasn’t for me–and I bet it isn’t for some other guys. Over the last couple of years, I’ve enjoyed Bible studies with non-Christians. The Lord has used their questions and curiosity to invigorate me. It also becomes a good example for others in the church. I love carving out this time.

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