Ministry Inside.6

Each Thursday this summer, I am posting “Ministry Inside” with ministers/church leaders in mind. Please let me know if you find this helpful.

1. Have you spent any time with Google books? You might want to consider this wonderful source of e-books. If you are not familiar with this, you might be amazed at what is available online. If you go to the site, try experimenting with several searches. Enter the name of an author or subject and look at the results.coffee_cup (1).jpg

2. Randy Harris (ACU) posted on his blog recently: “You need a song, a passage of scripture and a paragraph from a book to sustain your ministry.” Be sure to read the encouraging posts in which he elaborates upon this statement. You can find these posts here and here.

3. People love to hear their name. This is why it means so much to others when you make the effort to remember their name. Maybe you have to ask them a couple of times. Reasonable people will appreciate your effort to know their name. In conversation, I will occasionally use that person’s name. Why? I think that it is a part of being fully present in that moment. Don’t underestimate the importance of this as you interact with others in a congregation.

4. Daniel Harkavy has an excellent blog. He is an executive coach who is very down to earth and often addresses matters which are really important.

5. Have you read Margaret Marcuson’s excellent book Leaders Who Last ? Clear. Concise. Speaks of leadership from a Systems perspective. She does a very good job of connecting Systems thinking with congregational life. I read through this book twice.

6. Periodically, I spend some time reflecting on my life and the state of my overall being. In particular, I am looking for gaps or perhaps a signal that something is being neglected. For example, I know ministers who are very disciplined readers but completely ignore their bodies. While they develop their minds, they get no exercise and have a poor diet. Some of these same people are very serious about what they read but then will laugh about neglecting their bodies.

I reflect on the various dimensions of my life and consider what I might be neglecting. Am I neglecting the development of my mind? Am I neglecting key relationships? Am I neglecting my emotions? This kind of self-reflection has been very important to me.

7. In ministry, trust is EVERYTHING. If you are with a congregation for any length of time, people will come to know you. They will know if you are trustworthy. They will know whether you tend to reveal what others have told you in confidence. They will know whether or not you are safe. They will know whether or not you really care. They will know.

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

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11 thoughts on “Ministry Inside.6

  1. To me confidentiality is of utmost importance in building a trust relationship with anyone, but especially my pastor. Question – May a pastor, male or female, share what I confide, with his/her spouse?
    Look forward to checking out your other links! Thanks!

    • Regarding your question Karin, the short answer would be “no.” When a person confides in a pastor, that person is not free to share what you confide.

      The problem with a pastor telling a spouse whatever has been confided is that people often come to this pastor assuming (or even being told) that this will be held in confidence. Then when the pastor tells the spouse, it is a surprise (and disappointing) to the individual and that person feels as if his/her confidence has been broken.

      If for some reason, a pastor wishes to tell his spouse everything, then this decision needs to be public and intentional. In other words, it would be better for this pastor to tell the church and everyone who he talks with that he will communicate to his spouse anything that has been said. Then people, at that point, can decide whether or not free to talk to this person, realizing that what they say will be communicated to the spouse.

      • Thanks for your reply! I’m of the same opinion and wondered if others think the same way. In recent years I had noticed that a couple of younger pastors had shared a confidence with their spouse. Nothing major, but confidential, nonetheless. I wondered if perhaps they were being taught nowadays to keep no ‘secrets’ from their spouse and if by that they also think that pastoral care confidences fall among those ‘secrets.’ Needless to say, the level of trust had to be downgraded, lol!

  2. Good thoughts Jim. I agree that we need to take personal inventory and make changes when needed. Perhaps adding something or getting rid of obstacles that can strain us in our walk.

    I recently found Randy Harris’s blog and I love what he wrote. I’m looking forward to his next post.

  3. Thanks for the resources. Very helpful. I like Daniel Harkavy’s thoughts on healthy teams and culture. An inspirational moment in the morning is a great idea.

    • Steve, thanks so much for your kind words. Isn’t Harkavy good? I have been blessed by his thoughtful posts.