Ministry Inside.51

1. Each year I go to the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit. (I go to a simulcast site at Baylor University.) This is a two-day conference that is stimulating, thoughtful, and encouraging. This year I particularly enjoyed Seth Godin’s presentation. Of course, I also am a regular reader of his blog. He makes me think. There is great value in locating someone, whether in person or through their writing, who in some way stimulates your thinking.

2. “They will take their cues from you.” Many years ago, my father-in-law said this to me after I had preached a sermon in which I had shadowboxed my way through my material. I was tense, anxious, and somewhat agitated in this sermon. Why? I was speaking about the work of God’s Spirit and throughout the sermon felt irritated as I thought about a couple of people in our church who seemed to be diminishing his role.

The problem with the sermon was not the message and its content. The problem was me. From the moment I began that sermon, I felt uncomfortable and I communicated this in my body language. My father-in-law was extremely helpful to me that evening. He went on to say, “I agree with what you said. However, you might think about this: People will take their cues from you. If you appear agitated and tense, this immediately sets the listeners on edge. They become uncomfortable because you seem uncomfortable. However, if you will relax, smile, and then explain why a particular perspective or view is lacking, they are more likely to relax and really think about what you are saying.”

That advice was incredibly helpful! In fact, I’ve thought about it numerous times over the years as I prepared a particular class or message.

3. This looks very interesting! 25 Books Every Christian Should Read. Those on the editorial board for this book include Richard Foster, Dallas Willard, Phyllis Tickle, and a number of others.

4. For the last couple of days, I have spent time with a great friend and encourager to our family who primarily works with university students. The conversations have been great and stimulating. I mention this because it can be so stimulating to spend time with someone whose primary ministry is different from one’s own. Far too often ministers and others only spend time with people just like themselves, in exactly the same ministry role they are in.

5. One of my favorite blog writers is Jeff Goins. His blog, Jeff Goins Writer, consistently has good, interesting content. Two of my favorite posts are The Biggest Lie We Believe About Influence and Start Today, Not Tomorrow. Both of these posts were very motivating.

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4 thoughts on “Ministry Inside.51

  1. Thanks for #2 Jim! “They will take their cues from you.”
    So true! I need that reminder this week as I prepare to preach on generosity / giving / stewardship.
    Now If I’ll only remember it on Sunday morning…
    You are a blessing!

    • Doug, thanks so much. This one sentence has served me well through the years. I continue to think about it when I prepare to preach.