When Ministry Becomes a Breath of Fresh Air (Part 3)

tree.jpgSometimes ministry is anything but a breath of fresh air.  In fact, it can be life-draining.  It is so important to periodically think about what adds life and joy to what we do each day as Christ-followers.

The following are some basic principles of ministry.  I believe these principles are life-giving as they move us toward Jesus instead of our own agendas.  This kind of ministry is a breath of fresh air because its source is God — not human ingenuity and performance.  (Part one is here and part two is here.)

1.  Mission happens as the world sees Jesus embodied and lived out in real flesh and blood human beings.  (There is still something powerful about both hearing and seeing Jesus incarnate through a group of Christ-followers.)

2.  The world catches a glimpse of God as it sees the submission of believers to Jesus as Lord and the transformation of their lives into a Christlike people.  (When the world is allowed to witness the life change that is experienced through Jesus, they can’t help but be impressed with God himself.)

3.  Church leaders should expect people to change, to become more like Jesus who is Lord.  (Do we pray for "impossible" situations?  Do we expect God to be at work?  When men and women are a part of our church, do we expect them to be serious about being a Christ-follower?)

4.  The Spirit and his transforming power are the dynamic that makes things happen in a church.  (Something is wrong when church leaders talk more about human performance than the power of God.  Something is wrong when working with a group of ministers leaves one burned out, barely seeing the family, and exhausted.  The fundamental dynamic of ministry is not "leather on pavement" but the work of the Holy Spirit in that community.  The Holy Spirit, after all, is God’s forever presence.)

5.  The Spirit enables us to both tell the truth and do the truth.  It is out of the Spirit’s work that we live in reality and not in our false worlds.  (Authenticity is not found in saying whatever or doing whatever.  Authenticity is to be found when we live in the reality of truth.  The Spirit of God empowers us to both tell the truth and do the truth.)

6.  Shepherds move people toward Jesus by being fully authentic themselves.  His grace frees us to be fully present with others.  (Some church leaders are interested in being a part of an authentic church; however, they would prefer that others practice the authenticity.  They don’t want to admit that their own lives are difficult or that they struggle sometimes.)

7.  Men and women mature in Christ in the context of a community of believers in which the Holy Spirit is released to work.  In such a community, we are not content to settle for superficiality.  (We were never meant to mature on our own, alone.  Our faith is to be lived out with others.)

8.  True transformation into a Christlike people includes the transformation of our emotions and relationships. Maturity in Christ is not happening if our relationships are not being impacted.  (Something is very wrong when we see ourselves as a very spiritual people while we keep our wives/husbands and children at a distance.  Something is wrong when we do not allow Christ to transform our relationships, including our marriages and our relationships with our children and parents.)

Which one of these is most meaningful to you?  What would you add to this list?

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  • http://makegodsmile.wordpress.com/ Mark Hodges

    Thank you for these three posts on ministry.
    It is next to impossible for me to abandon the routine of doing more and more in order to get the results “I” want to see. As a result I do more and more with less thought and preparation. And of course, who has time to pray? I appreciate all of these thoughts but I especially need to hear the reminder of #4. Thanks again!
    By HIS Grace!
    Mark Hodges

  • http://thinkingtoodeeply.blogspot.com karin

    Every one of these 8 points is vitally important. Can’t think of anything to add. Right now #8 is the most meaningful to me. Thanks Jim!

  • Jim Martin

    Mark,
    Thanks very much. I am glad that in some way these were meaningful to me. Mark, I remember when I first realized that the Holy Spirit was the powerful dynamic that made things happen. It was such a relief as I eventually began to realize some of the implications. For so long, I felt totally behind and inadequate and believed that sheer discipline and energy could make it happen. Was I ever wrong.
    Thanks Mark.

  • Jim Martin

    Karin, thanks very much. I am glad these eight were meaningful to you.