Leadership: Following Through In Ministry

Written by Glen Dawursk, Jr.  --   www.yuthguy.com

 

In Lewis Carroll’s classic story, “Alice's Adventures in Wonderland” we listen into a conversation between Alice and the Cheshire Cat. Alice asked, "Would you tell me please, which way I ought to go from here?" "That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said the cat. "I don't much care where," said Alice. "Then it doesn't matter which way you go," said the cat.  Many churches ask the same question but they simply travel the path of least resistance and often miss the mark of real ministry.

Why do many churches lack direction in their ministry? __________________

 

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Being motivated by God is an awesome experience, but maintaining an attitude of “motivation” is far more difficult.  That “attitude” often becomes clouded by our sinful nature and we often lose the focus or direction of our motivation; but first we need to know our purpose in ministry.

 

 

Ü The need for purpose:

“For example, H.G. Wells, famous historian and philosopher, said at age 61: "I have no peace. All life is at the end of the tether." The poet Byron said, "My days are in yellow leaf, the flowers and fruits of life are gone, the worm and the canker, and the grief are mine alone." The literary genius Thoreau said, "Most men live lives of quiet desperation."

Ralph Barton, one of the top cartoonists of the nations, left this note pinned to his pillow before taking his own life: "I have had few difficulties, many friends, great successes; I have gone from wife to wife, from house to house, visited great countries of the world, but I am fed up with inventing devices to fill up twenty-four hours of the day."  (Morning Glory, May 29, 1993.   www.christianglobe.com/Illustrations/theDetails.asp?whichOne=m&whichFile=meaning and Charles Swindoll, Living Above the Level of Mediocrity, p.179.)

 

Someone once said that a man without a purpose is like a ship without a rudder.  These great men lacked real “purpose” in their lives and without purpose they had no passion and without passion they had no motivation to live.  They lacked real direction.

 


What is the purpose in your ministry?  Why do you do what you do?

 

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Ü Ask these questions about our purpose:

 

1) Does our purpose include “Giving God __________?”  Glory

 

Matthew 5:16
In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

 

John 15:8
This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

C.S. Lewis once said, “The glory of God, and, as our only means to glorifying Him, the salvation of human souls, is the real business of life.” (http://www.christianglobe.com/Illustrations/theDetails.asp?whichOne=p&whichFile=purpose)

 

2) Does our purpose include “Becoming More ________ Jesus?”  Like

 

Romans 8:29
For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

 

 

3) Does our purpose include “Following God’s _________ For Me” -- His divine guidance?

 

Psalm 32:8
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you and watch over you.

 

Isaiah 41:13
For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.

 

Psalm 37:5,23-24,31
+ Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this:

+ If the LORD delights in a man's way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand.
+ The law of his God is in his heart; his feet do not slip.


CBS News Anchor Dan Rathers keeps his professional focus by keeping three pieces of paper around him at all times.  He keeps one in his wallet, one on his desk and another he carries in his pocket.  On each paper is the simple question: "Is what you are doing now helping the broadcast?"  (www.hillcrestalliance.org/sermon/981011.html from Our Daily Bread, March 9)

Isaiah 42:16
I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.

 

Psalm 62:5
Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him.

 

 

When we evaluate our purpose in ministry, we also need to set our priorities.  Is this purpose worth fighting for?  How does this purpose rank against my personal values in ministry?  Both our purpose and values must be inline with God if we are going to see blessings in our ministry – otherwise we will struggle throughout the journey and will be dissatisfied when we complete the process; and we will lack the “passion” to accomplish our ministry purpose.

 

Passion is doing something “________________”

 

 

Colossians 3:23
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.

 

 

What do we want to do “heartily” in ministry?

 

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How would you define “Success in Ministry?”

 

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Do you consider yourself successful in ministry? Explain.

 

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According to national consultant Mike Murdock in his book, Leadership Secrets of Jesus, “Success is the progressive achievement of God-intended goals.”
(P. 218, Tulsa, OK, Honor Books 1996)

 

Goal setting is an effective way to stay motivated and focused in ministry.  Goals must focus on the potential for the future within the framework of the purposes of ministry.  Unfortunately Satan prefers stagnation and prefers for us to remain in the status quo or the past. 

 

2 Corinthians 4:17
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.

 

Isaiah 43:18
"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.

 

 

Jesus leads us toward the _____________.  This is also called “vision” in ministry.  future

 

 

ÜWhen setting ministry goals, consider the following:

 

  • Make the goals clear, specific and concise.
  • Written them down and post them somewhere where you can be reminded of them regularly.
  • Establish accountability by sharing them with another person.  Seek a pep-rally person (encourager) who will affirm your successes and offer strength when you are floundering.
  • Make specific deadlines for completion of the goals.
  • Create a measurable outcome when possible.  Remember in ministry, this is not always possible.  Relationships are more important than numbers.  Jesus started with 12 spiritual babies and after 3-1/2 years, they multiplied into the church.
  • Make the goals realistic yet challenging (ambitiously attainable) with reasonable assessments along the way.
  • Have an action plan as to how you will accomplish your goals.  Take small steps instead of big ones.
  • Review you’re all your goals semi-annually for accountability; annually for modification or renewal.
  • Have fun in ministry and do not let your goals hold you back from ministering in the moment.
  • Pray, pray and pray for your ministry goals without ceasing.

 

 

Most important: What is the scriptural basis for the goal? Find a supporting scripture verse for each of your ministry goals.

 

 


Types of goals:

There are “now” goals and “out there” goals.  Always determine where your goal falls. 

  • Now (immediate/ongoing),
  • Soon (1-2 years),
  • Later (3-5 years),
  • Out There (6 or more years)

 

 

Ü Assignment

 

Ø      Below, write a specific goal in your ministry for each of these types.

Ø      Evaluate whether each of your goals fits your purpose and passion.

Ø      Also consider whether your goal specific enough,
is attainable but challenging and who it will be accountable to.

 

Now (immediate/ongoing): _________________________________________

 

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Soon (1-2 years): ________________________________________________

 

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Later (3-5 years): ________________________________________________

 

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Out There (6 or more years): _______________________________________

 

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Ü Stumbling Blocks to Goals

 

Remember Satan does not want ministry to happen.  He will create stumbling blocks to your goals in ministry.  Someone once said, “When you're up to your neck in alligators, it's difficult to keep your mind on the fact that your primary objective is to drain the swamp.” Satan will try to distract you from your purpose and passion by confusing your goals or by making them seem unattainable. 

Think of a time when Satan distracted you from your ministry:

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Satan often uses doubt or fear to confuse us.   How is this done in a church ministry?  Where do finances enter into the process?

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Satan also blocks our goals and stagnates ministry potential through the following:

  • Putting it off.
  • Blame or making excuses.
  • Stifling creativity.
  • Going against scripture or God’s purpose.
  • Laziness.

Remember, a Christian is like a tea bag, we do not come to full strength until we are put into a little hot water.  God promises that these stumbling blocks are only temporary and perseverance always pays off.

 

 

Ü Ministry must see the “Goal Line.”

Ü Strive to ____________ the race.

 

 

Acts 20:24
However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me–the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace.

“There is a story involving Yogi Berra, the well-known catcher for the New York Yankees, and Hank Aaron, who at that time was the chief power hitter for the Milwaukee Braves. The teams were playng in the World Series, and as usual Yogi was keeping up his ceaseless chatter, intended to pep up his teammates on the one hand, and distract the Milwaukee batters on the other. As Aaron came to the plate, Yogi tried to distract him by saying, ‘Henry, you're holding the bat wrong. You're supposed to hold it so you can read the trademark.’ Aaron didn't say anything, but when the next pitch came he hit it into the left-field bleachers. After rounding the bases and tagging up at home plate, Aaron looked at Yogi Berra and said, ‘I didn't come up here to read.’”  (J. M. Boice, Learning to Lead, Revell, 1990, p. 38.)

Dream of the success the goal will accomplish.  What will happen to our church, our youth group, our Christian day school, our ministry?  What positive things could happen to the congregation?  Brainstorm where ministry potential can be and then maintain endurance as you strive to complete the race.

 

 

Proverbs 13:19a
A longing fulfilled is sweet to the soul.

 

Matthew 10:22
All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.

 

Philippians 4:13

I can do all things with Him who gives me strength! 

 

 

Write a prayer asking for God to bring focus back to your ministry’s purpose, to give you passion and fun in ministry and offer you endurance as you seek to accomplish your ministry goals.

 

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Answers to some of the key questions:

 

Does our purpose include “Giving God Glory?” (p. 2)

Does our purpose include “Becoming More Like Jesus?” (p. 2)

Does our purpose include “Following God’s Will For Me?” (p. 2)

 

Passion is doing something “Heartily.” (p. 3)

 

Jesus leads us toward the future. (p. 4)

 

Strive to finish the race. (p. 6)