Monday, August 18, 2008

The Ministry...a checklist

I remain fully convinced that although Christian ministry invariably involves many aspects, the two key, non-negotiable essentials are the Word of God and an interaction with people. I'd like to talk about the second aspect for a bit.

I came to Mexico with really two see people come to saving faith in Christ and to see them grow in that faith. To become disciples. Admittedly I was overwhelmed with my own personal spiritual, emotional and cultural issues many times...too distracted often to be able to verbalize that goal. But that's what it was, and is.

Conversion and growth is a tricky thing. I was talking today about some recent conversions here in the church and a friend said something to the effect... "and so you really didn't have anything to do with that, it just happened." On my way home I thought how I should have responded. I should have said, "and may God spare me from having to get in God's way!" The wind of the Spirit comes and goes and blows and we never know from where it comes or where it's going to go. But we also know that the gospel is like yeast, and begins to work through family and relational dough.

Recognizing the huge amount that one is incapable of doing, and would be foolish to try to do, allow me to mention (hey, it's my blog) some things that lend themselves to evangelism and discipleship, in a personal sense, as a minister of the gospel.

1. You have to be with people. Computers are fun but do not have a soul.
2. You got to be at church and hardly ever miss a Sunday. People need you to be there and you need to be there for your own sake.
3. You have to plug people in at all levels and allow them to succeed and fail, and allow yourself to succeed and fail.
4. You have to work hard and you have to pray hard. It takes both.
5. You have to do things you do not necessarily know how to do or perhaps do not really want to do. God will help you, and you'll take yourself less seriously.
6. You have to take risks...relational, financial and strategic.
7. You have to trust in God, and trust people as much as possible, but never as much as you trust God.
8. People aren't dumb. They will know if you really love them. You need to really love them.

Quote of the Day: this life of obedience turns out there is a steady attrition of ego satisfaction, for as I carry out my work I find that people are less and less responding to me and more and more responding to God. They hear different things in my sermons that I have so carefully spoken and I am offended at their inattention. They find ways of being responsive to the spirit of God that don't fit into the plans that I have made for the congregation--plans that, with their cooperation, would not only serve to glorify God but would redound to my credit as one of his first-rank leaders. Eugene Peterson, Under the Unpredictable Plant, p. 30

1 comment:

Alan & Beth McManus said...

"Computers are fun but do not have a soul."

But you and I have PCs and I heard it's different with Macs. ;-)