1. What is your point of view? Very often ministers/preachers/pastors see their church from only their perspective without making the effort to see another’s point of view. I have found it very helpful to listen to others so that I can learn what people in these situations really are experiencing.
For example, I might seek to answer these questions.
- What is it like to be single in this congregation?
- What is it like to be married but to have no children?
- What is it like to be a widow or widower here?
- What is it like to be new in this congregation? How does one get in? (Yes, there is a formal way of entering a congregation but how does one break into friendship circles?)
- What is it like to have a son or father in jail and live as a part of this church family?
- What is it like to have questions and even doubts and still be a part of this congregation?
- What is it like to be struggling financially in our church family?
I first learned of this practice from John Killinger from an early book on preaching. I still think the practice can be very helpful.
2. The best thing that I can bring to my congregation is a healthy self. That is, I can be a man who is godly, who loves people (beginning with my spouse and children), and who leads an ethical/moral life. Don’t underestimate the importance of these three. Yes, I know there are other important factors; however, my intellect, my creativity, and my leadership will never trump my own life before God. As a minister, I really need to start with the basics.
- How is my relationship with God?
- What is the state of my marriage? If my wife were to describe our marriage to people whom I admire, how would I feel?
- Are there “demons” in my closet that I am not dealing with (perhaps a tendency toward rage, a battle with pornography, or some other addictive behavior)?
3. Did you see this post about Fred Craddock on CNN online this week? Don’t miss this fine article.