Avoiding the Machine of Ministry

If you are in ministry, you might at times feel tired.  I like to think of it as the machine of ministry. The machine of ministry looks like this: - You are exhausted mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually most of the time. - You go through the motions of ministry work. - Your only concern is the attendance, and you’re not that excited about stories of life-change. - Worship is hard to get into because you “already know these songs.” - You compare yourself with other churches and leaders. - Your appearance gets more attention than your spiritual heart.

I’ve experienced these feeling at times in my own life.  How do we avoid falling into a robot of ministry where we lose sight of the sensitivity of God’s Spirit?

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Volunteer Tip: The "Why" of Small Groups

Small groups are vital for student to become fully devoted followers of Christ. The need for small groups is vital to people learning how to grow in their walk with God and each other. The Bible gives us the foundation of spiritual growth within the Christian community.

In the Old Testament we see the importance of the unity between God and man in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 1:27). God set up an important relationship between Adam and Eve. The sin that separated them from God was relational. The need for community was in place after the fall of Adam and Eve.

In the New Testament, Jesus set the example of pouring His life into the disciples. He spent a majority of his time explaining and living out the truth of God’s Word. Jesus did not spend his time mainly with the multitudes, but with a small group of world changers (Matt. 13:36).

In Acts 2:46-47 it says, Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”  

In James 5:16 it says, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”

Here are a few observations from Acts 2 and James 5:16 on community: Healthy community...

1. Eat together (Yes!) 2. Meet in homes (better environment and openness) 3. Authentically live for God (glad and sincere hearts) 4. Relational (enjoying the favor of all the people) 5. Grows numerically (true disciples make disciples) 6. Maintains healthy accountability (grace meets pursuit of God's glory)

The early church is a great example of people that loved each other and spent their time and efforts on building relationships. (Acts 2:46, 12:12, 20:8, 20:20; Rom. 16:4-5; I Cor. 16:19; Col. 4:5; Philemon 2).

Small group is the best way for people to learn and grow in their faith. The essence of small groups is creating an environment where people can open up to one another and grow spiritually. Healthy small groups are essential to lead people to become like Christ.

 What would you add to the conversation on small groups? 

Stop and Start: Part 3 - Comparison Kills

A blog series on how families can apply the gospel into their pain and dysfunction.

I was recently listening to a message by John Ortberg on growing spiritually. It made me begin to think that many people spend their life looking around wanting approval from everyone.

The truth is...comparison kills the motivation for spiritual growth. It is normal in today's culture to compare. Comparison creates an empty hole in our heart where we feel like we will never measure up.

So what is the usual response? We stop, throw up our hands up and stifle our growth. It is an epidemic in churches and in families.

What we create is approval factories. Could we be building modern-day pharisees with modern traditions? We have a select group of people who everyone thinks that is untouchable. Are we trying to become the person that others want us to become? Are we building our approval from the wrong people? Are we so committed to "good" things that we are missing out on God's best for us?

In our relationships we have to make decisions:

Stop showing approval based upon the outward appearance. Flattery is based upon outside appearance or ability. God looks at the heart. Avoid building up your friends, children or co-workers based upon what they do but upon who they are. Look into the heart of those around you and ask the question, "how can I lift them up?"

Start encouraging people with the restoring love of Jesus.  In our relationships, we need to be sensitive to loving each other unconditionally. In order to stop living for superficial approval, we must pour out the unchangeable love of Christ. The person God has created us to become must be grounded in His unconditional love. God has created us uniquely for a specific purpose.

What voice are you listening to today? Listen. God's voice is saying, "I am FOR you!" No matter what anyone says, your identity and approval can only be satisfied in a loving relationship with Jesus Christ.

The question is, are we becoming the person that God has called us to become?



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