Back toward the end of November, I wrote about My 3 Biggest Ministry Failures. Read that blog post before you read this one as a refresher and glimpse into my ministerial struggles.
Now that you know I’m not a braggadocios person (even though I did just use the word “braggadocios” which seems like a word an arrogant person would use.) I want to give a glimpse into what I believe are my ministry successes. While others might say something different, these are the ones that resonate with my heart the most.
Family Over Ministry
About ten years ago, Andy Stanley uttered a profound statement at a conference that shot straight through my brain and into my soul, lodging itself there as an ever present anchor. After he made this bold declaration, I committed with vigilance to live out this principle for as long as breath is in my lungs. He said,
“Don’t sacrifice your family on the altar of ministry.”
Pastors throughout the ages have sacrificed for a family that was not their own, leaving their children and wife abandoned. I made an internal, unwavering commitment to not be one of those church leaders. My family comes first.
I work hard at the church. I love the bride of Christ. My life is dedicated to serving and ministering to others, but my kids only get one dad and I’m the only husband Megan gets (for better or for worse). So my promise to my wife and my kids is that they come first, and I think I’ve done a great job of this.
We Before Me
While in Bible college, I ran a ministry for local high school and college students. One day during a meeting with my advisor, he asked me all about the ministry. With glee that only comes with a desire for an authority figure to be proud, words began pouring out of my mouth celebrating the ministry, what God was doing, and the team of people helping run it.
Through out my entire explanation, I repeatedly used the phrase “my team.” Part way through the ramblings of an overanxious 21 year old, the advisor stopped me mid sentence and asked if he could teach me a lesson. “Of course you can. That would be great.”
With a long pause which only comes from years of experience, he slowly communicated wisdom that while subtle was also indispensable. “Why don’t you change the pronoun you are using? Instead of saying “my” team, how bout you say, “we”? “My” sounds like they are working “for” you. “We” sounds like they are working “with” you.”
His encouragement shaped me to view others as partners in ministry rather than me as the ultimate superior. Instead of a Moses-style leader who goes to the mountain top and brings down wisdom to the people, I’m an Acts 2 leader who shares the load with the team.
At the age of 16 Jesus captured my heart in a way that changed the entire trajectory of my future. He became not just an idea but a reality. With this new reality came hope, joy, and peace in a way nothing else provided.
While now much older than 16 (even though I still act like a teenager sometimes),
I’m still that little kid madly in love with Jesus that unashamedly believes the world and your life would be better with Him. He changed me, and he can change you.
It’s one of the reasons I’m working on my next book, writing a class you can take, and I wrote this devotional.
Jesus comes first in every aspect of my ministry from the teaching, the writing, the team leading, and any other area I’m forgetting. He makes everyone and everything better, and I will loudly declare His name as long as there is breath in my lungs. Enough about me, though, what about you?
What areas have you experienced success in your ministry?
Whether you are a regular attender, volunteer, or a pastor comment below.