Wow, time flies!
Just realized that I’m coming up on 11 years in ministry soon. For some, that doesn’t seem like to big of a deal but for me, it’s huge. I still have to pinch myself from time to time just to see if this (getting to do what I LOVE) is real.
I’ll be the first to admit, I’m basically a novice in many respects and I’ve got a ton to learn as I move forward but I have picked up on a few things concerning ministry, leadership, life in general, ect over the past few years that may be of help to someone (specifically someone entering ministry of any kind).
So here goes – 10 Things I Think I’ve Learned (I know, I know…11 years of ministry. Why not 11 things? Well, the way I figure it I’ve learned at least one thing per year but I’ve got, at the very least, somewhere around 365 days of hard-headed, prideful stupidity to factor in…hence the 10 things instead of 11)
10. Be You – carbon copy ministers are a dime a dozen. We need no more. Look, it’s great to sit at the feet of a capable mentor (and we should), learning from them, picking up “how to and how not to” tips and gleaning from their success stories…but God created YOU in a unique fashion and He is good at what He does. Let me take it a step further and say that to “be someone” you’re not is in essence, to say “God, you’ve failed in creating me”. Sure, being “yourself” in ministry can catch some off-guard and possibly (ok, probably) turn off a few who prefer all Pastors to look, talk, dress, interact the same but at the end of the day, recognizing the fact that God created and purposed you differently and being ok with that honors Him and will pay off.
9. Be Transparent – while we’re on the subject of being “yourself” we need to realize that “yourself” has faults, failures, hang-ups and limitations. Don’t be afraid to share your own struggles with your people. They know that you aren’t perfect and appreciate it when you don’t strive to be perceived that way (one thing to add…they also appreciate you sharing the personal steps that you’re taking to overcome your hurdles to. Be sure to give them both).
8. Not Everyone Is Going To Be A Fan – try as you may (and we all do), there will always be someone you’re given the responsibility of leading that simply doesn’t like you. Sometimes for no reason at all, sometimes with good reason. It’s just true. I’ve found that most of the time, the biggest “fans” that you have initially will transform into your booo section eventually. Those you thought would always have your back will sometimes stick a knife in it. Don’t get jaded over this. It’s life.
7. Not Everyone Is Your Enemy – ministry in any form can be a painful place to hang out. Things are done, said, thought that bring tears to our souls. The result is often to grow callous toward people, throw up our guards and decide we’re at war with everyone we know. Truth is, though there certainly are some ninja assassins lurking about, not everyone is against you. Boy, I wish someone had sat me down early on and walked me through this truth! Ministry leader: You CAN trust! You can confide in! You can believe in people!
6. On That Note…Church/Ministry Is A Messy Place – there is no glamour to ministry. It’s hard work with lots of sweat, tears and yes, even triumphs! I think we often view church through rose-colored glasses and believe that this is that ONE PLACE left on earth with hakuna matata characteristics, kind of a oasis. We see church as clean and sterile and a close to perfect environment. It’s not. Dig down into ANYONES life, churched or not, and you’ll find a mess. Messy people=messy enviroment.
5. The Most Fruitful Ministry Is Done OUTSIDE of The Pulpit – preachers, leaders, teachers…I can’t stress this enough. I’m not diminishing the role of preaching/teaching in any way, shape or form by saying that either. Simple fact, the war is won in the trenches by soldiers with scars and dirty hands.
4. Each Church Is Unique (goes for SS or small group as well) – different kinds of people, different settings, different cultures….we’re all different and that’s ok! I’ve had the pleasure of serving in churches small and large who’s methodology widely varied because their context varied. There are a ton of ways to “skin a cat” so don’t get dogmatic.
3. Hire People Smarter Than You – there are very few things that kill a church/ministry quicker than insecure leadership. Hire the best and brightest, then give them opportunity to shine….and don’t be threatened when they do. Not. About. You.
2. Learn – the day you’ve “arrived” is the day you begin to die. Learn from those who are like you as well as from hose who aren’t. Never stop learning. Ever.
1. Jesus Is Amazing – and sufficient… and your strength…and your comforter… and THE REASON WE DO WHAT WE DO. Focus on Him and fruit falls from the tree.
Soli Deo Gloria! – Pastor Kyle