Sunday, January 27, 2008

Keys for a Minister to Long-Term Ministry

Another good thought from The OOZE.

Key’s for Minister’s Aspiring for Long Term Ministries
By Phil Fairchild

1. Think Long-Term: Not Short-Term—Plan to remain in one church for the duration of your ministry or the rest of your life.

2. Honor God's Timing: Whatever the actual length of one's ministry in a given location, one of the most important things is to honor God's timing. The only way you will move is if God's timing indicates otherwise.

3. Don’t Be Reactive: The pain, hurt, failure and rejection you feel may or may not be real at all. It may simply be an over-reaction to negative—but "normal"—ministry experiences.

4. Prayerfully Seek God’s Direction: There are, I believe, two types of "prayer-led" Christians. They are the "Direction Seekers" and the "Direction Givers. Direction Seekers are those who pray genuinely seeking God’s direction for decision and His blessing. Direction Givers are those who make their decision first, then decide to pray to God tell Him what they’ve done—and what He must do. Long-term preacher must be driven by the experience of God’s answer to prayer, not by self-driven motivators

5. Think Vision: The quickest way to bring the possibility for a long, vibrant ministry to an end is to avoid casting a vision. Unless leaders continually cast the vision, the real challenges and opportunities needed to be addressed by long-term ministry may never surface. Vision also creates euphoria, purpose, and greater dependence on the leadership. It is that healthy dependency which forms the basis for a leadership team which is empowered, energized and equipped to aspire and attain God’s vision for the congregation.

6. Don’t Be Driven By Numbers And Externals: This does not mean to ignore them. Nor is it an excuse to avoid appropriate accountability. Instead, this advice is directed to look toward trends and movements, not "blips" and "bleeps." Numbers will rise and fall. Programs will come and go. Long-term preachers understand that ministry is more than numbers or programs. Instead, it’s the holistic effect of all the experiences of the unique journey of faith which God leads the congregation to experience.

7. Learn About and Love the Community: If you and your family don’t and can’t love where you are, you will likely not experience a long-term pastorate in that place. Long-term preachers allow themselves and their families to participate in the community. They love their community and support it, knowing that there is no place else on earth that God would have them minister. They are not just called to take care of the church. They are there to make an impact on the community, too.

8. Climb Off The Career Ladder: There are at least four problems with preachers climbing the professional ladder. It takes your feet off the solid ground and makes you susceptible to falling, takes you away from where you are supposed to be, gives you a fantasy-based view of the "greener grass" on the other side, and fuels and feeds a "built-in" "I’m outta here ASAP" mode of thinking.
Certainly God can and does call individuals to positions of greater responsibility and authority in the church. But it’s His calling—not our selfish, narcissistic impatient covetous—which should draw God’s chosen toward these positions.

9. Learn To Deal With Problems: Many preachers flee churches with problems. Every church, every ministry, has struggles. The most difficult problems, perhaps, are those which cannot be solved immediately…or at all. Some things can’t or won’t change. Learn them; deal with them, live with them. In many cases, the first step to dealing with congregational problems is to identify, learn and deal with one’s own personal issues

1 comment:

john rister said...

I enjoyed reading your comments here on The nine keys, you put forward. Many pastor's in our denomination seem to think short term (3 years max)and want to move up the ladder to bigger churches. That I believe is one of the main reasons congregations do not want to get to know a pastor and his family. I plan on approaching ministry with long-term in mind. It is not to say that God will keep me there, but to say that I will listen to God's voice and prompting when and if to move me. I would like to find a church and stay for the long-haul and be part of a community. Good principles to live by. Thanks