I have often said that ministry is a constant tension between opposing forces. The shifts that take place within the church, often need to take place, but the problem is that the shifts that we make are not toward a healthier balance, but from one extreme to another. Often the true need is for a healthy balance amidst seemingly opposing forces.
Within my 30 years of ministry experience, I have seen the pendulum shift many times in many different directions.
The primary shift I have seen has been between the protection and the proclamation of the Gospel. It has been a fight between focusing inward or expending energies outward.
Of late there has been a very strong effort to see the two peacefully exist within the Bride of Christ.
As a leader, I find it hard to keep these two seemingly opposing forces in check with one another. I struggle with this primarily because the people of The Kingdom have a propensity to fall to one side or the other of the spectrum.
In the role of pastor, I always feel the tension of letting some people down most of the time.
I know my obligation is to please the Lord and follow his lead, but there is still regular tension in leading.
I desire to continual promote the balance between being called to worship and being sent to care.
This balance allows for a healthy platform for the Great Commission and the Great Commandment to come to fruition as the Bride of Christ fulfills its call. Another reason for this balance is to usher in the now, continuous and not yet Kingdom of God.
My next number of posts will be on this issue and will focus on the “Sentness” of God’s church while at the same time promoting the idea of giving God the Glory in all things.
I remember sitting in the chapel of Edmonton Baptist Seminary (now Taylor Seminary) as a young student poured out his heart. He was sharing of his “failures” as an Intern Youth Pastor of one our sister NAB churches.
This young man summarized his service of 4 months as a complete failure as in his own words “I was unable to build a strong youth ministry in the church and I failed to change the lives of the students as I had determined to do from the beginning.”
As he shared his story while fighting back the tears, I was moved in my heart for this student. When he had finished his testimony the professor running the chapel service for that day stood up, walked to the front and asked the worship team to come back up for the last song. He gave not one word of encouragement to the student, did not offer a prayer for him and seemingly showed no concern for the young man that had just bared his soul.
This service was my first chapel that I had at attended since taking over as the ABA Youth Area Minister, so I felt an obligation to the student. I approached him after the service ended and told him that I was sorry to hear his story. I then asked him to accompany me to my office so we could talk. Once in the safety of my office I asked him a very strongly worded question: “Who told you that you could build a strong ministry and change the lives of students in 4 months?”
I honestly wanted to know if this well intended student had set the bar too high for himself or whether someone had misled him in his goal setting. The answer was that no one had helped him set his goals. Therefore, he did it himself and set very unrealistic goals.
I began to explain to him that building a relational youth ministry was a very slow and arduous process. I told him my personal story of how I poured into the lives of many students for years before seeing any seeming fruit from the effort.
It is my fear that with our leadership at LFC, and with those leading our Clusters especially, I have not helped with realistic goal setting.
I think it is important that I help us all understand that building a Cluster to have a true sense of Biblical community is a long-term task. This calling will require a lengthy commitment that will try your patience and heart’s calling at times.
You will need to learn to be persistent, and you will need to develop thick skin. You are being called to help people develop a sense of community and care where they may not see a need, or understand the potential of what that community may accomplish.
Despite the lack of understanding on the part of the people we serve, I want to encourage you that what we are seeking to accomplish is worth the effort and energy. As we see authentic community develop I assure you we will see Kingdom fruit that will surpass our expectations. It is to that end that I constantly pray for our Cluster Leaders.
So hold fast to the task set before us. Commit to the work and trust the Lord of the harvest for the fruit.
I will be writing more about this topic so please stay tuned.
This video challenged me and made me think. Christian leader and authour Dave Gibbons talks about some important issues for missional leaders within the church. He addresses some hard issues, issues that we need to be thinking about as our world changes. Gibbons gives insight on how the love of Christ can take us into the mess of the world in an effective manner.
I am excited that we are on the verge of our big journey at Fellowship. This journey is the one year journey through “The Story”. We will be looking at the one continuous story of God through the Scriptures.
In this study we will learn to see our Lord as a God who is always on Mission and that he calls us to live as a missionary people of a missionary God.
We will see the whole of scripture as an unfolding story of God and his work to redeem his people.
I will be blogging twice a week through this adventure. One post a week will be around the idea of our Missionary God, and the other will address the issue of us as a missionary people.