Archives For Ministry

Ministry Is Ministry

June 6, 2013 — 6 Comments

As I we are wrapping up this year’s small group season and breaking for the summer I have already been preparation for next school year. I have been able to talk to a bunch of other student pastors from a few different churches (LifeChurch.tv, Newspring, etc) and see how they set up their smal groups for the years. It’s awesome to see how other ministries do what we do just in a different context and setting. It got me thinking.

Ministry is ministry. I would assume that all of us believe in reaching students, or even just people in general, for Jesus. I would also assume that we would agree there is more than one way in doing so. As long as the truth of the Gospel is being preached, and it is doctrinally sound, ministry is ministry but the context changes. The Gospel will never change, it will always change lives and it is timeless. Ministry, depending where you are, will change. The context will always be different.

The moment we believe our way of ministry is THE way of doing ministry is the moment your ministry will become stagnant.

Your philosophy and methodology might change based on the area, church, culture you are in, but the theology should never change. As long as we don’t base our theology off of the culture we are in, what does it matter the whats, hows and whys of ministry? The way we do ministry in Southern California here, a lot of the things won’t work in the Mid-West and what works in the Mid-West probably won’t work in the South. But you know who knows? The people who are living there and doing ministry there.

I love looking at other pastors and how they do ministry from all across the nation. I want to learn what works best for them but realize what works best for them might not work best in my context in ministry. But it could spark some other idea in which would work.

Let’s just realize ministry is ministry. That never changes, but context does. Let’s be on the same team and reach students for Jesus, that’s it. Let’s be aware what is working and where and let us learn and adapt. The Gospel is an¬†unstoppable¬†force and it will change lives.

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I love my job. A lot. But there are some things about the job and ministry that are just hard to swallow. It is always a bummer when you hear something about a student you have poured in to, make a decision or go down a path that you have, for what seems like you have talked about over and over, go the opposite direction.

Just the other day, my co-leader for our small group and I got a text from a mom. She just vented her concerns about her child, which is awesome she is letting us know, and she ended with, “Know I don’t expect you to fix him, I just wanted to let you know.” Which is a big thing for us I believe. My co-leader is new to ministry, this is first year leading a group and he just happened to come into the office to talk about how to respond to something like this. It ended up being a great conversation and training for him. I thought I would share some point from our conversation:

  • Our job as leaders is not to “fix” students, but be there to guide and teach them to follow Jesus so when our time is done with them they can and know how to be a follower of Jesus.
  • It’s huge for us, as leaders, to have the in and trust with our parents. They are with our students longer and for more time than we are during the week. They will know more and for them to be able to come to us with concerns and the insides of the family is a big deal we cannot take for granted.
  • I don’t want to go to the student with the info from the parents (in most cases) because I want him to feel like he can trust me, not conspire against him with his parents. But I can lead the conversation to see if he will talk about it with me.
  • A student will only share what they want to share. You cannot force it.
  • We need to be there and available for them when they finally do want to bring it up. And be loving while we do it.
  • My co-leader and I can do a better job at partnering with our guys parents and are going to figure out how we can do so.
  • More one-on-one time leads to better and deeper conversations with a student.

I’m sure there are more that we talked about and that can added. I just thought I would list some of the stuff we talked about today. What else would you add?

This is one of my best friends Jeremiah Mullins. We worked together at Christ’s Church of the Valley in San Dimas and we also lived together for 2 years. We shared a bunk bed as 23 year old men. I’m not ashamed to admit it. He’s in my wedding in 2 months. Love this guy with all my heart.

He just got hired at LifeChurch.tv in Oklahoma as the¬†Associate¬†Worship Pastor on their main campus. This video is from of their worship experiences that they record for their¬†satellite¬†campuses¬†as they wait for their live feed. It’s pretty incredible. Needless to say, I’m super proud of him on following where God has called him to go. He’s killing it out there and this video proves it.

Take a look.

 

Follow his music on Facebook by clicking HERE.

Who (a friend in ministry) can you send a quick text or note to encourage them and tell them your proud of what they are doing for the Kingdom of God? You should do that today. Who are you going to tell today?

I just spent the last week in Palm Springs. It was amazing and refreshing. One of my favorite things that I get to do on trips like this is golf, sit by the pool, take a nap (remember those?) and my favorite…READ. It was a personal goal of mine to read two books during the 7 days I was here, and I did it. It feels awesome.

One of the books is called “The Tangible Kingdom: Creating Incarnational Community” by Hugh Halter and Matt Smay (you can find the book on Amazon HERE).

This book was challenging for me based on the churches I have grown up in and the church I work at now. It is challenging in the fact that they are writing from a church in which is focused on only the “serious people” stay at the church and they have a “talk” with the not so serious and they suggest that the church is not for them. I know, it rubs me the wrong way at first but understanding their context is important. They do not focus on programs or really cater to the “seeker”, but they simply follow the way Jesus did ministry, and that is to be apart, among, and with the people in the community.

“Their goal isn’t to attract people to worship services, but to BE the faithful church in small pockets throughout their city. They meet in coffee shops, homes, anywhere in public, and when people would ask what they were doing, they simply would invite them to join and “Come and see”, like Jesus said to His disciples. They challenge churches and leaders to take a leap from their safe environments of their buildings and truly enter the real world- God’s reality.”

I like it. Even though I do not agree with everything, I feel that I am able to take many things from what they were saying and apply it into our ministry at Saddleback HSM. Some things they suggested that I want to apply that I got from reading this book. These are just some examples of the incarnational ministry they talk about in the book:

  • Don’t just live in my apartment community, but REALLY live in the community. Get to know neighbors, staff, etc and just be a real person and have genuine relationships with people. Know about their lives.
  • Instead of being in the office all of the day, spend part of the day at your second office in public. For me, that would be Starbucks. Usually the same people are there at the same times always. And conversations usually happen when you see the same people, the same staff.
  • Have meetings with volunteers or students at Starbucks instead of the offices.
  • Instead of having our Bible study at the church, do it at a coffee shop or shopping center plaza. Get in the community and start the natural conversations that will happen.

These are just  a few things I can personally do in my ministry. Even though I sort of do this already, it is more about being intentional while doing it. This I will do and pray for the future relationships that can come out of it.

I really recommend this book if you are a leader of any sort of ministry or in any church context. It is a great reminder of how we can get caught up in ministry and loose the relationship aspect of the people who come looking for the only thing Jesus can give them.

READ THIS BOOK!

Noah built the ark because he was being obedient to God.

Man built the Titanic to show off.

Look what gave and sustained life and look what sank and took down others.

Pride comes before the fall. Something we all have heard. The Titanic was deemed the ‚Äúunsinkable‚ÄĚ ship, the most magnificant ships built at that time. It became famous not for sailing across the sea successfully but because it sank in the middle of the ocean. Man was trying to be bigger and better than ever before. Noah built the Ark because He was doing what God instructed him to do, even if it made no sense. Think about it, building an ark in the middle of the dessert in the dry season. Noah, because he was obedient to God gave life to the world while the Titanic who was all about the glory of man sank in the dead of night.

When we build ourselves up, when we let our pride set in and get the best of us, when we glorify ourselves and not God, we fall hard and take others down with us because we cannot build on ourselves. We are not stable. Just like the Titanic. When we build upon God, when we look to bring Him glory in our actions, we can change the world and give it new life just like Noah and the Ark.

Be the Ark not the Titanic.