Monthly Archives: December 2009

The Misery of Ministry

Luke 10:38-42

I love to disciple and train people in, and for the ministry. In doing so, an intentional habit is to impart valuable lessons I’ve learned through the years. Ministry has been extremely fun, challenging, adventurous and fulfilling for me, but I can also recall seasons where ministry seemed to be the cause of my agony. To be honest, at a certain moment I had to realize and to admit that it was my perspective and not so much the ministry that caused the misery. The truth was that I got distracted while doing the Lords work, I considered myself close to His purpose, not realizing how far I was from His presence.We might be able to keep the appearance for a while, but in the course of time we will suffer a severe burnout, and we should be able recognizing it before it is too late.

The Misery of Ministry becomes evident as we get distracted in doing ministry and we start to display 3 symptoms;

Complaining: This symptom occurs when we worry so much and are to busy looking at the problems; excitement becomes anxiety, worship becomes work and desire becomes duty. This is the part where our time, energy and even our finances are being used to fuel the drive to express our grief, pain, or discontent. We become so unpleasant to be around that slowly but surely even the closest people start distancing themselves from us.

If you have time to whine and complain about something then you have the time to do something about it. – Anthony J. D’Angelo, The College Blue Book

Comparing: When people start avoiding us, and involve themselves in activities other then those that occupy us, our reaction is to get upset. We become so caught up with ourselves, that I and what I do become the object of importance, and everything -and everybody else is subject to it. We compare everybody in our surrounding with ourself, and expect them to become exactly like us; a hot tempered task oriented sourpuss!

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself – Max Ehrman

Controlling: In order to gain control we start to manipulate the authority which is placed over us and try to make them part of our team. We expect from our leaders, even from God  to make our urgency their priority. Our way of thinking has become; “It’s not what can I do for God, but what should God do for me.” We operate in a mode of despair, emergency to the point of panic, and we loose control of ourself.

You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude toward what happens to you, and in that, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master you. – Brian Tracy

When I start to recognize these symptoms within my own live, or when others make me aware of them, then it’s time for me to ‘step on the brake‘ and adjust my priorities. Always keep in mind, we can let ministry wait, but Jesus we should not! Ministry is servanthood and it was a servant’s work to attend the feet. Return to the feet of Jesus, to listen to what He says. There is so much that asks our attention and so many things required to be done, but only one thing is needed. We should chose what is better, and which can not be taken away from us. Ministry will always be there…

It is one of the ironies of the ministry that the very man who works in God’s name is often hardest to find time for God. The parents of Jesus lost Him at Church, and they were not the last ones to lose Him there. – Vance Havner, baptist preacher

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Momentum (part 3)

momentum3

When a person is completely saturated and over-full with a vision, others will surely notice it. Unfortunately some people with a vision are like the open valve of a fire hydrant on a hot summer day in New York City. Their vision comes out uncontrolled, sharing the refreshing and energizing substance with whomever gets close enough, but will receive it with their own agenda. Leaders however are different, they want to make sure the vision is intentional shared with those that can help them attain it; with people that stick around.

One of my best moves is to surround myself with friends who, instead of asking, “Why?” are quick to say, “Why not?” That attitude is contagious. – Oprah Winfrey

We obtain momentum (Momentum part 1) by receiving a vision from God, momentum (Momentum part 2) is gained whenever an individual steps out to make the vision a reality, and lastly momentum is maintained when others are included in the vision and the vision is caught.

  • A Leader Transmits the Vision

Nehemiah 2:17 ‘Then I said to them:”

Nehemiah approached the key influencers, and shared four ingredients of vision;

  1. the Purpose (vs. 17a): Whenever a God given vision is shared it always comes with a clear purpose and a picture that is bigger than self, plus one. Momentum will slow down, when the purpose becomes unclear or the vision gets as small as one individual.
  2. with Passion (vs. 17b): Passionate people are contagious, but especially when it is a combination of compassion and an inward drive to do something about a situation or problem personally. Why would people move, if the leader is not moved?
  3. with Power (vs. 18): Nehemiah shared with the people that he received permission from God and the king, which represents authority. You can never be an authority if you are not under authority.
  4. having a Plan (Neh. 3): In order to be successful it is crucial to have a strategy to fulfill the vision. With a plan everybody knows the hard work that needs to be done, without a plan everybody just works hard.  The last will demotivate the workers eventually, and if no action is taken it will cause the momentum to slow down even to the point of coming to a final stop.

And last but not least, momentum ends were it started; with God.

  • Continue to Rely on God

Nehemiah 2:20 “The God of heaven will give us success.”

The beginning of failure is the moment when the momentum leaves a trail of success, and we start relying on self. Ego will become the only thing we have eyes for, when we loose sight of God.

Just make sure you stay alert. Keep close watch over yourselves. Don’t forget anything of what you’ve seen. Don’t let your heart wander off. Stay vigilant as long as you live. Teach what you’ve seen and heard to your children and grandchildren. Deut. 6: 9

make sure you don’t forget how you got there. – Deut. 6:12a

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