Ministry Inside.24

1. There is much to be said for listening. In the past month, I have been intentional about meeting with small groups of people in our community (outside our church family) in order to learn more about our city. I ask questions like:

  • What are people in your circles talking about? (Your family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, etc.)
  • How could a church be more helpful in this city?
  • What are people in this city anxious about?

I have gained so much by doing this. Again, I am listening to these groups and actually say little about our church etc. When I do speak in these gatherings, it is mostly to ask follow-up questions after someone has commented. I take extensive notes. One person said, “It is very nice for someone to genuinely want to know what I think.”

2. Are you aware that the newest edition of the NIV was released this week (online)? You can find it here. See Doug Moo’s introduction.

3. Far too many ministers underestimate the importance of pastoral care. I really don’t think one has to choose between being a good leader or being a person who cares for people pastorally. Ministry is about loving and serving people (in the best sense of those two words.) When one loves and serves a church over a period of years, credibility is built–usually. However, gaining credibility is not a given. If you live among a group of people as a minister for several years, they will learn that you can be trusted or they will learn that you are not trustworthy. If a minister proposes some initiative regarding ministry in the future, it is very difficult for a church to hear this if this minister has no credibility. However, if this minister does have credibility (which again typically comes through some years of genuine love and service), they will often give this person the benefit of the doubt.

This is not to say that a minister has to serve a congregation for years in order to lead or attempt an initiative. Rather, ministers should not overlook the importance of serving and loving the congregation.

Sometimes a minister does not have credibility, after being with a congregation, because of too many instances of poor judgement. A congregation wants to know that those who preach, those who lead various ministries, and those who in some way are a part of pastoral leadership consistently exercise good judgement in what they say, what they do, and the decisions they make.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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2 thoughts on “Ministry Inside.24

  1. Good idea on listening to those in the community.

    As for pastoral care and credibility, it can be a hard thing to win if you serve among people who are naturally suspicious of those who are new and/or different from them. That’s a really hard thing to get used to when you’re not a naturally suspicious or skeptical person yourself and you have to get past taking things personally, because sometimes it won’t be personal; sometimes it’s just a reflection of others’ insecurities. This can be very difficult, but recently the Lord spoke to me that if He Who had The Truth was rejected, so we should not be surprised when we’re rejected. And yet, He didn’t allow that to stop Him.

    • Pat, you make a very good point. At times credibility in a congregation may not be experienced for quite sometime. At times, this may be (as you note) because the minister is seen as being very different from the congregation. At other times, this may be because these people have been burned and now are very, very hesitant to trust again (I’ve experienced this.) Regardless, it is still a very difficult situation.