Each Thursday this summer, I am posting “Ministry Inside” with ministers/church leaders in mind. Please let me know if you find this helpful.
1. Have you spent any time with Google books? You might want to consider this wonderful source of e-books. If you are not familiar with this, you might be amazed at what is available online. If you go to the site, try experimenting with several searches. Enter the name of an author or subject and look at the results.
2. Randy Harris (ACU) posted on his blog recently: “You need a song, a passage of scripture and a paragraph from a book to sustain your ministry.” Be sure to read the encouraging posts in which he elaborates upon this statement. You can find these posts here and here.
3. People love to hear their name. This is why it means so much to others when you make the effort to remember their name. Maybe you have to ask them a couple of times. Reasonable people will appreciate your effort to know their name. In conversation, I will occasionally use that person’s name. Why? I think that it is a part of being fully present in that moment. Don’t underestimate the importance of this as you interact with others in a congregation.
4. Daniel Harkavy has an excellent blog. He is an executive coach who is very down to earth and often addresses matters which are really important.
5. Have you read Margaret Marcuson’s excellent book Leaders Who Last ? Clear. Concise. Speaks of leadership from a Systems perspective. She does a very good job of connecting Systems thinking with congregational life. I read through this book twice.
6. Periodically, I spend some time reflecting on my life and the state of my overall being. In particular, I am looking for gaps or perhaps a signal that something is being neglected. For example, I know ministers who are very disciplined readers but completely ignore their bodies. While they develop their minds, they get no exercise and have a poor diet. Some of these same people are very serious about what they read but then will laugh about neglecting their bodies.
I reflect on the various dimensions of my life and consider what I might be neglecting. Am I neglecting the development of my mind? Am I neglecting key relationships? Am I neglecting my emotions? This kind of self-reflection has been very important to me.
7. In ministry, trust is EVERYTHING. If you are with a congregation for any length of time, people will come to know you. They will know if you are trustworthy. They will know whether you tend to reveal what others have told you in confidence. They will know whether or not you are safe. They will know whether or not you really care. They will know.