My second lesson from my 7 years in my current role (and 14
as a minister) is that being the minister isn’t as difficult as it looks or is
made to sound. You need to manage 10 things, the first three need to be done
well, the remainder you have a bit of latitude to fashion depending on your
character, skills and gifts.
1. Preaching. To be able to preach most weeks in a way that grabs
people’s attention, speaks to their lives and shows how God is speaking to us through
Scripture. Also, for most of the church, it is only through preaching that they have contact with you so your ability to preach is the prism through which they view you and your ministry. Whilst focusing on preaching though, don't forget it is in the context of gathering for worship; being able to work with worship leaders, musicians and others to ensure the whole service flows is part of your role.
2. Leadership team. To be able to lead the team, helping
them to keep abreast of the issues facing the church, identify the next steps and
respond to key challenges. However the
real requirement here is not the task but the relationships; creating an
environment of trust and teamwork where you seek God's will together.
3. Organisational oversight. An understanding of what is
going on in every area of church life; and the antennae to pick things up
without being explicitly told about them. In essence, someone has to ensure
that the wheels don’t fall off and that person is you. To be
successful at this you need to make sure that you are not the one doing the
administration, practical support or organisation; rather you need to keep the helicopter
view that keeps it all in perspective. Rather you need to focus on strategy and how things can move forward.
4. Children and young people. Generally as a minister you
don’t get to spend a lot of time in this area but it is vital that you pay
attention to it (or at least the people leading in this area).
5. Small groups. Call them whatever you will but essentially
a church of 200 people plus is made up of groups. These groups are where people build relationships, find support and encouragment, grow as disciples and through which they find avenues of service in the church.
6. Work with older people. A healthy church is an
intergenerational one, but in the same way that attention needs to be given to
developing children and young people, attention needs to be given to supporting
and encouraging older people (especially where ill health or other issues makes
it hard for them to engage in church life in the ways they did when younger).
7. System of pastoral care. Every church has ways of caring
for its members, its just that some are better than others. Different ministers
handle this differently, some giving this area a lot of their time, others
(like me) preferring to develop teams to provide the front line
response. Whatever way you do it, you can’t stop caring about people, but if pastoral care is the core of your ministry you are better off as a minister in a church with 150 people or less.
8. Mission resourcing. A church which looses sight of its
call to make disciples or which forgets its call to share in the mission of God
has lost the plot.
9. Community engagement. Whatever size or type of church you
are part of, you have a geographic location. If you don’t engage the
communities around you, who will?
10. Prayer. All of the items listed above can be seen as
tasks to be accomplished. Prayer is different, it is a reminder that at our
core we are people called into relationship with God and with others as his
body. Bizarrely a church can function for a while without prayer (which is why
it is the last on my list). But in reality all of the above are as straw if
prayer is not the bedrock. We are the people of God, not a social group who
come together to put on a good show.
Easypastor.com the home of successful ministry! Keep these
ten things going and all will be well……. Except next time I’ll suggest its not
quite so simple.