If you have started your Christmas shopping, who did you begin with? Why did you choose them? Many times we begin by shopping for those we think most often about, perhaps our spouse, our children, our parents, our friends, our co-workers. It is not unusual for us to invest first in the people we are closest to. As ministry leaders, hosts, facilitators, teachers, Elders, etc., can I encourage you to take this Christmas season as a time to reflect on your ministry and ask yourself if you are doing ministry out of obligation or out of passion. Are you investing in the people you minister to because you can’t figure out how to comfortably get out of it, or because you can’t wait to be with those people? If you are going through a season of struggle, there is great value in finding a friend in ministry to share your struggle with, and find encouragement from that friend. If you are in a place where there seems to be no joy ask the person leading you to help you find a person with whom you can share your ministry. You are important…burnout is not God’s plan for your ministry…God does not intend for us to be joyless in our ministry…His help most often comes through others. Thinking about your ministry should be like shopping at Christmas time for the ones we care about. For those of you experiencing this joy in your ministry right now, share with your ministry partners your joy. God may be using you to lift the spirit of others.
Thank you for serving,
The Hardest Thing To Control
Leaders & Servants:
I needed a three ring binder so I went to Staples and noticed the store sign read “Fulfillment Center.” I walked in the store (which looked nothing like any Staples I had ever been in before) and was greeted by a person asking gruffly, “Are you looking for something?” I almost responded – “Fulfillment.”
It strikes me signs at our ministries, Life Groups, men’s and women’s programs, should have a subtitle “Fulfillment Center.” Our goal is not just to do a program or a study; it is to inspire people to walk closer with Christ – which ultimately provides fulfillment. As leaders and servants evaluate your ministry by asking, “Is Christ using this ministry to bring about fulfillment?” Questions like this will help keep you focused and not allow your ministries to drift into just another program. Most people don’t need programs, they need fulfillment.
Have a very blessed week,
Serve in Secret
One of the main challenges a leader faces is how to regularly encourage those they lead. Are you good at encouragement? Do you have some close friends who will honestly give you some input on your encouragement skills? Many leaders need help in this area. Leaders can be so focused on the future, on getting things done, on the light at the end of the tunnel, that they focus on all still they have to accomplish; George Barna suggests leaders can be perceived as critical because they often see challenges earlier than others. If this sounds like you, it is likely you need to work extra hard on stepping up your encouragement. Think, “What is one thing I can do to encourage someone today?” You’re a leader; if you set the goal you will do it. Remember, as a follower of Christ we are called to be lights in His world. Have a shining week.
What Season Are You In?
I would love to encourage you to spend a little more time in prayer this month. Conversation with God is the foundation of our ministries. God responds to our conversations. As I have spent time talking with many of you I have full confidence that you want to see God do a mighty and powerful work in your life and in His Church. Prayer is the best way for us to identify what the powerful work is that God wants to accomplish. There is nothing that will help your ministry move forward like being convinced God is directing you to do something; and there is nothing that will enhance that sense you are hearing from God like time in prayer. Let’s grow together in our time in conversation with God.
Talk to you soon,
Boy have I missed you! Nearly a month of being away on vacation helps remind you how much doing ministry with others means to you. I hope this has been a fruitful time for each of you as many of you have kicked off Fall programs and ministries. If there is anything I can do to be a help, please shoot me an email or give me a call at church. God doesn’t intend for us to do ministry solo.
Thanks for all you do,
Leaders lean on others
We as pastors are asked often about pre-marriage advisement before a couple gets married. The book we see as extremely helpful is called “Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts.” Other books include:
Vacations are over and whatever my glitch in getting the ipad to do the video is now over. The same can almost be said for the summer. I’m not talking about the heat in Arizona, but I am talking about students are getting ready to go back to school, 40 Days of Hope is just around the corner, and VBS starts tomorrow. Get ready, it’s just like New Years – well a new school year, small group year, and students are moving to the next grade level. Leaders, are ready? I don’t mean do you have lessons planned. I mean are you spending time in prayer about the upcoming year. Let’s commit this year to be a year our ministries are saturated in prayer. Remember, it is God’s work we are doing. Let us do the work with God’s power and His Spirit.
Hope you enjoy the video,
Leaders and friends,
More and more I am realizing all of our POWER topics are relational – Prayer is clearly about a relationship with you and God, but some of the most meaningful times of prayer I have had were with others. Outreach is nothing if it is not about relationships. This week in our Sunday message we will be reminded that worship is a lifestyle. Even within that lifestyle there is a corporate part of worship and therefore a relationship side of worship. Equipping is about training others – totally relationship. And then there is Relationship - Often times as leaders we rely more on studies, programs, curriculum, or events to influence the life of others. Those things can have great value – but, relationships, personal contacts are the demonstration we truly care about others.
I continue to pray God will use you in a powerful way,
A Trip to the Dump
What are you reading? It has been said, “Leaders are readers.” If you are reading a great book please let me know. I am reading an inspiring business book – “Switch – making change when change is hard.” I am realizing how important it is for leaders to help bring about change. I also understand sometimes the head and the heart don’t want to change at the same pace. Talk to a person who has been smoking for 20 years and you can explain to them the health hazards and the money that has gone up in smoke. They will likely tell you, “You don’t think I know that. It’s hard to change.” Leaders, what do you see in your life that probably should change? What is your support program for making the change? How can your class, your table, your committee, or your ministry be a support and encouragement to meet your goals for change? How can you be a help to others as they attempt to make changes?
Thanks for your leadership – I am praying for you,
This week’s leadership video
It is 108 degrees. What do you do when it is that hot? NO!!!! Not leave town. You get together with a few of your people from your life groups, ministry groups, tables, Sunday School classes, and you see how they are doing. It is time to get together in smaller groups, and to look around for new people for your groups. Did you know most people who move to Phoenix do so in the Summer? Summer is not the time to shut down, it is the time to look around. One reason you are leaders is because you have a natural ability to stay engaged when others disengage, and you have a God-given ability to care about people. Let me encourage you to use this summer as a time to look around your work, your schools, your neighborhoods, and even the church, to find people who would give anything to have a small group – a LIFE group of friends to do life with.
Thanks for being leaders,
The Least of These, My brothers