Ministry Inside.73

Each Thursday I post “Ministry Inside” specifically for church leaders. I think these might be helpful. It does me good to explore these issues.coffeeA.jpg

I have been wondering lately about church leaders who stretch themselves while others basically remain the same. Those who stretch and grow often do so by developing good habits.

Below are four actions to take if you want to grow spiritually.

Now some of us take a “Eureka!” approach to ministry. That is, we seem to always be looking for the missing ingredient. Someone reads a book and believes he has found it. Still another attends an incredible seminar and now sees this perspective as it. Then someone else visits a congregation on the other side of the country and perceives this church to possess the real deal.

As helpful as a book, seminar, or church visit might be, a church leader’s growth typically is not centered on eureka moments. Yes, there may be some breakthroughs in your thinking or practice. However, the growth that will sustain you over the long run is typically less dramatic.

Take these four actions:

1. Step forward. Do something. Reading, thinking, and reflecting are very important even indispensable. However, ministry is not simply a seminar of ideas. At some point it is time to start. Start small, but start. Far too often I have waited until I was fully prepared or knew enough. Preparation and knowledge are important but at some point it is time to move ahead. Remember that the first step is not about trying to get others to do something. The first step is your own.

2. Step away. Make sure you take adaquate time for reading and thinking. Don’t worry about reading the latest. Read what matters. Step away and go to a great seminar. Take a class. Audit something. Check out the many opportunities to learn through iTunesU. Talk to people you admire and appreciate and find out what they do for their growth.

3. Step up. Some people make excuses (If we only had a better preacher or the right elders.) Others try to make things happen through manipulation instead of doing the hard work of leadership. Church leaders who are maturing step up and deal with their own functioning and their own maturity (or immaturity). People who are maturing focus on how they can take responsibility for their own behavior, words, and actions. Does my functioning reflect that I am maturing or that I am stuck in immaturity?

4. Step back. Reflect on what is happening. Seek out a few trusted people with whom you can process what is happening in the life of your congregation and, in particular, your own functioning. Step back and consider your actions in a conversation, a meeting, a sermon, etc. What is the perception of your spouse and other people whose wisdom you trust?   


Which one of the above has been particularly helpful to you? Is there one that deserves more attention from you?

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

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2 thoughts on “Ministry Inside.73

  1. Jim,

    All four steps have been helpful to me but #4 has been especially helpful. Sometimes the best way to make sense of things, get beyond a rut, etc… is to talk to some trusted others who I know will tell me what I need to hear rather than what I want to hear.

    Left to ourselves, it is too easy to project our own wants and desires as God’s or as the suggestions of some book-author/podcast-preacher. But to have some trusted others who can engage what we are thinking, help us to see some possible options and outcomes (as well as our motives for each), and even challenge us… Priceless!

    Grace and Peace,


    • Great point Rex! It really is easy to project our own wants and dreams as God’s (or someone else’s).

      Some of the relationships that have blessed me most are with people who were not trying to tell me what I wanted to hear but simply spoke what they thought. Thanks.