Could you help me out? What’s the BIGGEST issue you are dealing with in your church right now? What’s keeping you up at night? DM or @ me.
Todd Rhodes tweeted this today. And his question perfectly emphasized what I’ve been thinking about the last few days. This Fall, I’ve had the beautiful opportunity to run around the country for work and in the course of doing so sit down and chat with people from all walks of ministry life. Big churches. Little churches. Senior pastors. Volunteers. On fire. Burnt out. Rookies. Seasoned veterans. It seems like I’ve had a chance to get the pulse of a pretty good sample of people doing ministry today.
At some point in most of those conversations a single theme rang true: We need to spend less time on stuff that doesn’t really matter and focus more time on things that really change lives.
More specifically, ministry-people want/need/long to focus more intently on presenting Christ than anything else! They want to focus more on the “main thing” and less on stuff like building an amazing program.
It seems like the last 20-25 years of church ministry we elevated a ministry leaders value to “what else can you do?” as opposed to “are you a minister?” You’d hear things like “That person is a powerful leader of his staff.” “That woman runs the most efficient youth program in the world!” “He is an amazing worship leader.” On and on.
Those are all value statements about ministry program skills and not the “main thing.”
And people in full time ministry are pretty frustrated by it. We didn’t go into ministry to be valued by our skill set, did we?
I experience this all the time. People seek me out to talk about “how I can help their ministry” all the time. It’s because I have a skill and not because of who I am in Christ.
Certainly, it is nice to have skills that people seek out. (Don’t get me wrong!) But I’m often left wondering… “Do these people really think I’m all about social media, internet utilities, strategy, design?” I hope not. I hope they recognize that these are the means to an end. The reason I work so hard on these skills is to convey the most important message in human history! At the core of who I am is not a tech nerd. I want to be a nerd who passionately loves Jesus and wants to reach the lost. My skills are not my “main thing” and I shudder to think of others looking at me and thinking it’s my main thing.
To answer Todd’s question: I hope people lay in bed at night thinking about their ministry. I hope the Holy Spirit stirs them at 2:00 AM to innovate powerful things. But I also hope they aren’t wasting their time and sleep on stuff that isn’t the “main thing”.