As I post the following today, I am thinking about ministers in particular. However, I really think many other people might find something useful here.
1. You might enjoy MP3’s of the Austin Sermon Seminar. Speakers included Rubel Shelly, Jim Reynolds, Paul Watson, Wendell Willis and Everett Ferguson. I did three presentations on “Preaching from 2 Corinthians.” You can get ALL of these presentations for $12. I was blessed by hearing the other presenters.
2. I have met far too many ministers who feel as if they are failures in some way. You can almost see the defeated look in their faces. Some of these people feel this way because they have come to the realization that there are some aspects of ministry that they just don’t do very well. Yet, that is not failure. That is human. No human being does everything well. Find your expectations regarding ministry in God and not unrealistic expectations about yourself.
3. Are you on Twitter? See www.twitter.com to register for a free account. Once you get registered, begin “following” me (Username is: JimMartin). Once you begin following me, you can see what I am posting. I often post links to many resources that never appear on my blog or on my Facebook page. These links will often lead you to very good articles, etc. There are many other people you might enjoy following as well whose brief posts are inspiring, thoughtful, or simply lead you to quality links.
4. Every year, on the Sunday prior to Memorial Day, Jim Hahn, our worship leader, puts together a simple slide presentation honoring those who were a part of our congregation and who died in the previous twelve months. Each slide simply consists of the name of the person and the day that person died. The slide remains before the church for a few seconds and then moves to another. No speaking. Just very moving music. I stood at the back during this presentation and observed just how much this meant to the people in our congregation.
5. For an introduction as to some of the many perspectives on faith, listen to Speaking of Faith with Krista Tippett. Always well done and insightful. Tippett leaves no stone unturned in the questions she asks.
6. You might want to look at this post by Frank Bellizzi regarding some good New Testament online resources. On a number of occasions, I have learned about helpful online resources through Frank’s blog.
7. In many church buildings, there is a designated meeting room for key leaders in the congregation. In some churches, this will be the meeting room or conference room where the elders/ministers meet. In other churches this may be where the ministry team or the ministry staff meets. Early one morning, a minister was walking by himself through the church building. He happened to step into the meeting room where he had met with his elder group on many occasions through the years. As he entered that empty room and turned on the light, he was startled by what came out of his mouth.
“I hate this room.”
He thought about what he had just said. He knew why he had said this. This room was filled with so many unpleasant memories for him. As he thought about this room and his experiences, the feeling was depressing and sad. How sad! Yet, I have had enough conversations with ministers and elders to know that far too many feel this way. The memories of many of those meetings are often not good.
Why are we not intentional about building better memories of time spent together as key leaders? Why do we not build better memories of dreaming together and considering ways to participate in God’s kingdom? Why are these gatherings not more about sharing stories of what God has done in our church and community? Why not build memories of key leaders coming together to point out the good in one another and to encourage one another? I raise these questions because I really think ministers/elders could be much more intentional about building this kind of environment.
(Please let me know if this series, “Ministry Inside” which appears on Thursdays, is valuable to you. You can leave a note in a comment below or e-mail me at email@example.com.)