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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Keys for Preachers Aspiring Long-Term Ministries

1. Think Long-Term: Not Short-Term Plan to remain in one church for the duration of your ministry or the rest of your life.

2. Honor God's Timing: Whatever the actual length of one's ministry in a given location, one of the most important things is to honor God's timing. The only way you will move is if God's timing indicates otherwise.

3. Don’t Be Reactive: The pain, hurt, failure and rejection you feel may or may not be real at all. It may simply be an over-reaction to negative but "normal “ministry experiences.

4. Prayerfully Seek Gods Direction: There are, I believe, two types of "prayer-led" Christians. They are the "Direction Seekers" and the "Direction Givers. Direction Seekers are those who pray genuinely seeking Gods direction for decision and His blessing. Direction Givers are those who make their decision first, then decide to pray to God tell Him what they’ve done and what He must do. Long-term preacher must be driven by the experience of Gods answer to prayer, not by self-driven motivators

5. Think Vision: The quickest way to bring the possibility for a long, vibrant ministry to an end is to avoid casting a vision. Unless leaders continually cast the vision, the real challenges and opportunities needed to be addressed by long-term ministry may never surface. Vision also creates euphoria, purpose, and greater dependence on the leadership. It is that healthy dependency which forms the basis for a leadership team, which is empowered, energized and equipped to aspire and attain Gods vision for the congregation.

6. Don’t Be Driven By Numbers and Externals: This does not mean to ignore them. Nor is it an excuse to avoid appropriate accountability. Instead, this advice is directed to look toward trends and movements, not "blips" and "bleeps." Numbers will rise and fall. Programs will come and go. Long-term preachers understand that ministry is more than numbers or programs. Instead, it’s the holistic effect of all the experiences of the unique journey of faith, which God leads the congregation to experience.

7. Learn About and Love the Community: If you and your family don’t and can’t love where you are, you will likely not experience a long-term pastorate in that place. Long-term preachers allow themselves and their families to participate in the community. They love their community and support it, knowing that there is no place else on earth that God would have them minister. They are not just called to take care of the church. They are there to make an impact on the community, too.

8. Climb Off the Career Ladder: There are at least four problems with preachers climbing the professional ladder. It takes your feet off the solid ground and makes you susceptible to falling, takes you away from where you are supposed to be, gives you a fantasy-based view of the "greener grass" on the other side, and fuels and feeds a "built-in" "I’m outta here ASAP" mode of thinking.
Certainly, God can and does call individuals to positions of greater responsibility and authority in the church. However, it’s His calling not our selfish, narcissistic impatient covetous which should draw Gods chosen toward these positions.

9. Learn to Deal with Problems: Many preachers flee churches with problems. Every church, every ministry, has struggles. The most difficult problems, perhaps, are those, which cannot be solved immediately or at all. Some things can’t or won’t change. Learn them; deal with them, live with them. In many cases, the first step to dealing with congregational problems is to identify, learn and deal with one’s own personal issues.

1 comment:

Robert William Brock said...

Good message Phil. Just wish more ministers would read this. May God Bless.