Friday, May 15, 2015

Questions for Upcoming Ministers

Being in ministry for 25 years and being a part of training men and women for the ministry, there are a few questions that I have learned must be answered before one will be effective in ministry. There are too many stories of pastors falling or failing in the ministry for these questions to be avoided.

1 Peter 5:2-3, "shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock." Ministers are commanded to be the example to the flock in all areas of life. So here are a few of the questions that every minister should continually ask (in no certain order):

  1. Do I want people to follow my example in the way I raise my kids?
  2. Do I want people to follow my example in how I treat my wife / husband?
  3. Do I want people to follow my example in how I spend my time and money?
  4. Do I want people to follow my example in how I lead others?
  5. Do I want people to follow my example in my spiritual life and witness for the Lord?

These are questions that I have been asking myself for the past 25 years and will continue to ask. Knowing the Bible is a must. Being a visionary is a must. Waxing eloquent in pulpit is important. Processes and procedures you can't do without. But if you don't live in such a way that people can aspire to follow, your ministry will be short lived. I realize this is a tall order, but that is the call of a man or woman of God.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Finding Jesus

How do people find Jesus today?  This question has never been more real to me than right now, as I plant our new Church: Reliant.  Last week I was sitting in a discussion meeting with Stadia and Greg Nettle said something in passing that is changing the course of the way I think about evangelism.

The way a person comes to faith in Christ today is a lot different than it was in the 70's and 80's.  The pattern back then was something like this:  Information (The gospel) led to a decision (salvation) which led to relationships (church) which ended in mission (evangelism).

Through the 90's there was a transition into the a relationship style of evangelism that sparked a small group movement all over the country and the pattern changed: Relationships (small groups) led to sharing (the gospel) which led to church attendance (assimilation) which ended in mission (evangelism)

Today the pattern has changed once again.  The millennial's think in a whole different light.  They are very aware of the ills of the world and are determined to make a change in the world around them.  They love missional  causes that help society as a whole.   So, here is the pattern: Causes (mission) lead to relationships (small groups) which lead to sharing (the gospel) which leads to church attendance (assimilation).

Let's review:

70's & 80's: Salvation - Church - Relationship - Mission
90's & 00's: Relationship - Salvation - Church - Mission
Current: Mission - Relationship - Church - Salvation

This can all be summed up by understanding the way that truth is perceived today.  People no longer take for granted that the Bible is the inerrant truth. This mind set is described fully in James 2:18, "But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works."  We live in a "show me" generation. So here are a few questions that you can ask yourself.

  1. How is my relationship with Jesus changing the world in which I live?  
  2. Is my faith based in facts alone or actions I take?  
  3. What missional cause am I developing that will lead to new relationships?
  4. Who am I taking with me as I reach out into the world with the love of Christ?
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