Each Thursday I write a post (ok, most Thursdays) entitled “Ministry Inside.” This post is primarily written for those who are in various church ministry roles. Yet others might find these comments and resources helpful as well.
You might enjoy reading my blog via your phone. You can do this directly through a browser (www.godhungry.org) or through the app “Godhungry” if you have an iPhone. To download this app onto your phone, go to the iTunes store and do a search for “Godhungry,” or you can get it through the App store on your phone.
Russell Davies has written a thoughtful post entitled “How to be interesting.” What caught my attention is a great list that he gives the reader. Many of his suggestions are good ways to be present and stay fully alive. Some of his suggestions will help us see, smell, and hear the world again. Far too many ministers and church leaders get into deep ruts and find it hard to do good thinking or to change worn-out practices.
Have you seen Andy Crouch’s list: “The Ten Most Significant Cultural Trends of the Last Decade?“ This list made me think!
Last night, Charlotte and I began a marriage conversation with seven couples. We have not done this before. We hope to reflect on our own marriage and our attempt to live as Christ-followers in the context of marriage. Part of the evening included telling part of the story of our marriage.
For a number of weeks, I have been reflecting on “game changers” in ministry. One game changer is:
Be a student of your church and your community. Be observant.
Ministry always takes place in the context of a community. That is, we served real people who live in real places. Ministers ought to be good students of the people and the places where they live. Far too often a minister will enter a church and make statements that the locals find odd or even insulting. With some people, to talk about the opening of deer season might seem very normal while among people, such a topic might sound very odd. To talk about this morning’s chai latte may seem very normal among other people, while such a comment might seem out of place to others. There is nothing wrong with being an individual, however, I don’t want to continually communicate to the people in our church, “I am not one of you.”
It might help to know the people in the context where we minister. A minister who makes no effort to get to know and to appreciate his community can quickly communicate to others that he doesn’t really value the place where he is living.
I regularly skim through three print periodicals in which I am primarily looking at book reviews. The publications that I skim through regularly are The New York Times Review of Books, The New York Review of Books, and Books and Culture. I find this to be a very helpful practice that lets me keep up with themes that are being addressed again and again. In particular, Books and Culture has been a lifesaver in terms of being introduced to significant biblical and theological writers.