All in Ministry

"I can't do this anymore..."

"What's the point of this..."

"I think it would be easier to just give up..."

These are the types of thoughts that mark seasons of weariness in our lives. Weariness is the state of physical, emotional, and spiritual depletion. It's a fatigue that extends to every facet of life and remains a reality  all Christians face. The prophet Isaiah meant to make this clear when he pictured the strongest, healthiest, highest capacity person he could and said even they grow weary.

The truth is, apart from God, creation is hard-wired for weariness.

 

I can't tell you how many Christians have come to Redemption after leaving previous churches because they "just didn't get anything out of the Sunday service." Sometimes this is because they have come from a church that has abandoned the preaching of God's Word, but many times these are people that have come from great churches where the preaching is not the problem. I would argue that a big part of the problem is not our churches, not our preaching, and not the style of music used for worship. I would argue that a big part of the problem is

Do you have a vision for something in your life?  You should. In fact you should have a vision for a number of things -  your spiritual life, your marriage and family, your vocation, and your particular area of ministry gifting. My guess is you do have a vision for a all these things, meaning you have some grasp of where things are currently and a hope for where they will be in the future. You see what is and have a picture of what could be.

So, I'm assuming you have some vision for these things, but here's my real question:

 

Being a pastor involves a vast number of meetings. Pastoral counseling, church discipline, membership interviews, and meetings with other area pastors all consume a tremendous portion of a pastor's time. In addition to all the meetings already mentioned, the pastoral teams of each local church meet together on a regular basis. Growing up in the Church, I know that not all these meetings are created equal.

At Redemption we celebrate the sacrament of communion nearly every week. We do this because it puts the sacrificial work of Jesus in our place at the very center of every worship gathering. One of the potential dangers for a church that celebrates communion each week is that without great care it can become a religious formality - one of those this we do because "that's what we always do." Regardless of how often we take communion, it ought always to be taken seriously. It's not a game. It is not a sad expression of worship, but a serious one. In 1 Corinthians 11:27 the Apostle Paul warns in writing, "Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord."

So the question is, how can we take this important expression of worship seriously and properly prepare our hearts for it? Here are the four steps I encouraged our church family in yesterday:

 

Four years ago I instituted a semi-regular retreat day into my schedule for the purpose of prayer, fasting, and personal planning. Few things have grown and blessed my soul, my family, and my ministry like regularly withdrawing to engage with Jesus in this way. This practice started for me when I heard another pastor at a conference mention that he took a regular retreat day as one of his spiritual rhythms, so I decided to give it a shot. It was uncomfortable early on, as I didn't really know what I was doing and didn't have any real plan. Some of my retreat days were fruitful and some of them were, quite frankly, awful.

It had been a frustrating few months. I'd started a new position as a worship pastor at an existing church and thus inherited a group of 15 musicians with little talent and lots of attitude (a wonderful combination - is my sarcasm coming through clearly enough?).

One guy in particular was especially difficult. It was discouraging to lead him and he was demanding in his desire to have things “his way.” After one of many phone calls spent trying to get him heading in a healthy direction, I was particularly frustrated and brought this frustration to God in prayer. It went something like this...

 

"So, I know you preach on Sunday, but what do you do the rest of the week?"

If you're a pastor than you've been asked this question on multiple occasions. Is it just me, or does it seem that people only ask this question on the particularly hard weeks when almost anything sounds better than writing another sermon, walking through another crisis, or watching yet another person ignore the clear counsel of God's Word and thus shipwreck their life? In truth, while pastoral ministry is (in my biased opinion) the most amazing job on the planet, it is also one of the most difficult.

 

At Redemption we work hard to evaluate everything we do. The underlying conviction behind this is the belief that everything can always be better. We can always lead more effectively, execute more efficiently, and create with more quality.

We've created a simple strategy that we filter every aspect of every ministry through and we call it D3 Leadership. Here's how it works.