Ministry Inside.19

1. Ministers need to be lifelong learners. Remember that it is not necessarily how confidence-coaching-pic.jpg much you read, but what you read. This is not a matter of either being bookish or not being bookish. Churches deserve a minister who is willing to do hard thinking and who is willing to mine the important books so that the church has access to these thoughts. In a paper entitled, Creation, Evolution, and Christian Laypeople, Tim Keller writes that the pastor must stand between the scholar and the person in the pew, reading and interpreting what the person in the pew might never read. He says that pastors are a bridge between the world of scholarship and the world of the street.


2. I heard James Bryan Smith twice this week at the ACU Summit. He was outstanding as a teacher and communicator. His books The Good and Beautiful God , The Good and Beautiful Life, and The Good and Beautiful Community are well worth reading. Also see Scot McKnight’s fine series on The Good and Beautiful Community.


3. Do you read Michael Hyatt’s blog? I get many practical ideas from him in a number of areas. For example, several of his suggestions have been helpful to me in my personal organization. You may find his blog to be very helpful also. For example, read today’s very fine post (guest written) entitled: “Why Great Teams Tell Great Stories.”


4. Be sure to read J.R. Briggs’ “(45) Practical Pieces of Advice for Young Pastors .” This is an excellent list! It is also an excellent list for those who have been ministers for a long time. Following this list could make a significant difference in a ministry.


5. Have you ever spent any time scrolling around Powell’s Bookstore? I find this to be an interesting website. By the way, this is an updated list of what I am reading.


6. Today, I had lunch alone at a cafe that I never go to, in a part of town that I rarely drive through. I deliberately went by myself to this place so that I could take in the sights and sounds of people around me in the cafe. I tried to really watch and listen to what was around me. I listened as the waitress expressed her frustration to another customer. I watched as the cook walked through the cafe with a sense of pride about his job. I looked at the cars parked in front of this cafe. I looked at the businesses across the street. As I drove back to the office, I tried to pay attention to the homes, the people walking, and the various businesses.

I did this because I needed to really see this part of our city again. I simply wanted to be present and to stay aware. You might consider doing something like this where you are. I find this helpful.

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  • http://SOHG.USA Kent Sutherland

    Jim, just wanted to suggest you might read Dan Kimball’s book, “They Like Jesus But Not The Church”. One of my preacher friend’s asked me to read it and then we could talk. After I read it we sat down and discussed the implication of our own lives and how we have effectively isolated ourselves from people who aren’t Christians. As a result we decided to have lunch one day a week at a local Kroger supermarket just to meet people and get him out of his office. We’ve been at this now since April of this year and I am amazed at how God is bringing people to us who are curious why two guys are sitting in Kroger with Bibles.
    I am happy to hear you are changing your comfortable routine to see your world from a different perspective. Keep at it. God bless.

    • Jim Martin

      Kent, just put it in my Amazon basket. I like Dan Kimball and look forward to reading this.

      I like what you are doing with your friend. That has to be very interesting.

      Each July, when I am away from our church (study break and vacation), I deliberately put myself in places where I can just watch and listen to people. I have been doing this now for a number of years and have been blessed by this.

      Now, I am working to create some new disciplines and habits during my regular work week. Probably going to be lots of trial and error but I like the way I am leaning. :)

      Thanks, my friend.

  • Clay Knick

    Thanks for continuing this on the blog. I really enjoy it & learn a lot.

    • Jim Martin

      Thanks Clay. I appreciate this.

  • Pat

    Good advice about going to someplace different. I think too often Christians get very used to traveling in the same circles, neighborhoods, etc. and that keeps us insulated from the world if we never get to see how others live. That’s why I’m so grateful for my experience which has exposed me to people from all walks of life and to different cultures and faiths. Too many times I sit in meetings and hear people talk about what they’ve “heard” or assume about another group, part of town, etc. But they don’t have it on firsthand experience and that is so unfair to the ones we claim to know so well. We could potentially be writing off a mission field based on our assumptions or secondhand information.

    • Jim Martin

      Pat, love what you said. So often we do make decisions, both individually and as congregations, based on assumptions and secondhand information. A lot more could be said about this. Thanks.

  • http://johndobbs.com John Dobbs

    I have JBSmith’s good and beautiful trilogy. In our Iron Men group we are working through the first one. I will have to re-do… there’s too much to learn. GREAT resource. Didn’t know he was at ACU. Would like to hear him. Thanks Jim!

    • http://www.godhungry.org Jim Martin

      John, aren’t these wonderful books? I have been blessed by them already and haven’t even finished reading them. His presentations at ACU were great. (And they were not just an audio version of his books. Think you would enjoy his messages.)