Tag Archives: ministry

Messianic Job Description

Many Jews of Jesus’ day were looking forward to the coming Messiah, the “Anointed One” who would save them. But they pictured being “saved” as being freed from Roman rule politically.

Check out Isaiah 61, one of the many passages that describe what the anointed one was to be about when he came to earth…

isaiah61_1

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me,
    for the Lord has anointed me
    to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted
    and to proclaim that captives will be released
    and prisoners will be freed.
He has sent me to tell those who mourn
    that the time of the Lord’s favor has come,
    and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies.
To all who mourn in Israel,
    he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
    festive praise instead of despair.

The focus isn’t directed toward the religious or the chosen… but rather the Anointed Messiah, Jesus, would be concerned with the poor (they get good news), the brokenhearted (they get comfort), the captives (they get release), the prisoners (they get freed), the mourners (they get hope along with God’s blessing and a crown of beauty and a praise party).

As ones who self-identify as followers of Jesus, his disciples of this modern era, are we about those same things? Are we spending a majority of our time, treasures, and ministry reaching out to those to whom the Anointed One was sent to minister to?

Why not?

Leave a comment

Filed under art, Bible, Church Leadership

Personal Mission Statement

Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.”                                  —Ephesians 4:11-12 (NLT)

 

If you’ve been around United Methodist Churches much, you know that our pastors move around. In fact, we are only appointed to our communities one year at a time. So every year we are asked to fill out paperwork as to how things are going with us and our families, as well as with our churches. We do it every year, and only occasionally are we asked to move to a new community appointment. This year, though, one of the questions really challenged me. It read: “What is your personal mission statement?”

What is MY personal mission statement? What is it that gets me up out of bed and keeps me going? Personally, I started with the roles I have; the relationships I have. Specifically, I’m an individual made in the image of God, by God, to be in relationship with God. Also, I’m a husband to my wife, a father to my children, a grandfather to my grandkids, a pastor to a congregation, and a volunteer with some other groups. I’m also other things, but how do I sum up all of that in a personal mission statement?

A quick definition before I go further… One of our foundational beliefs is that every single person that’s been baptized is called by God to minister to others for Him. We are ALL “ministers.” Some of the ministers are called to be doctors, some bankers, some ditch diggers, some politicians, some garbage collectors, and some to be “pastors.” My role as a pastor is first, and foremost, to be a “minister” like everyone else who is called by God to whatever profession. With that, here is what I submitted:

“My personal mission statement is to be so connected to Jesus Christ as a minister, worshipper, and leader, that wherever I might be, I can equip other ministers in their areas of ministry, starting with my own family.”

 

So I, like you, am a “minister” expected to live out my life in such a way that people I encounter in my daily life will see Jesus in me. In order to pull that off, I have to be in relationship with Him… talking to and listening to Him and reading the Bible so that I can really get to know Him. I need to be connected with Jesus Christ. That also means that a major part of my calling is to worship Him. Also, because I am a pastor, I have leadership responsibilities in the church.

The second part of my statement highlights that my ministry is not just in one geographical area or in one setting. I am to be the same kind of Christian at school activities, at sporting events, at restaurants, at social events, at the garage, at the fire hall, and at church. And by doing so, I hope to be able to help, encourage, support, and equip the other Christians I encounter to be able to step into whatever their ministry is. That also means I need to be willing to go wherever God might want to send me.

And while I’m at it, not as a pastor, but as a Christian, I look for opportunities to share God’s love and Christ’s forgiveness with anyone I run into that doesn’t know Jesus as their Lord and Savior yet.

The last part of my statement emphasizes that my ministry, like all other Christians, requires that we be in ministry with our own families first. So many of us Christians, especially pastors, get so busy with all of the other things in our lives that we lose our own families. Our spouses and children are to be the first priority for all of us. For most of us, we haven’t always done so well with this.

“O.K. Preacher,” you might be thinking, “that’s nice, but what’s it got to do with me?” I hope you’ll take some time and think about the different roles and relationships you have, and the people and places you go day in and day out. Pray and ask God what He’s asking you to do as you go to those places and encounter those people. Most people have a different job than I do, so your mission statement will probably look different than mine. But we do share some of those other relationships: wives, children, parents, volunteers, and more.

Tell me, what would YOUR personal mission statement say?

***This post appears as my pastor’s newsletter article in the November 2014 edition of The Flame, the monthly newsletter of the Clarks Mills United Methodist Church, Clarks Mills, PA***

***This post also appears on my mixed meditations blog at http://www.mixedmeditations.wordpress.com ***

1 Comment

Filed under Church Leadership, Newsletter

Going Fishing!

In the Aldersgate 2013 pre-conference worship service, the Rev. Ric  Wright shared the biblical story of the resurrected Jesus and his encounter with his disciples in John 21:1-14. It starts off in verse two with Peter, who is so wounded by his failure during Holy Week he decides he’s going back to what he knew before he met Christ: “I am going fishing.”

Some of the other disciples have even less idea what to do next, and in an unconscious nod to Peter’s leadership, they decide to go with him fishing. After all, it sure beats the pain and disappointment of their failed venture in the ‘Christian’ life.

But Jesus shows up to thwart their plan to leave this ministry stuff behind them and start over in a different life. Like the hound of heaven, he goes after them before they give it all up. He wants to restore them and renew them in their true calling.

In some divine way, he ensures that they fail at the fishing gig. All night long and they catch nothing. But then, divinely, he helps them remember some of the miracles they had witnessed and participated in while following Him. He tells them to throw their nets over onto the other side of the boat and they are overwhelmed by the catch. Peter catches on right there and eagerly jumps into the water and heads for the shore. Jesus reenacts the multiplication of the fish and the bread (he’s cooking fish before they get there with their newly caught fish). He reenacts the breaking of the bread, the very thing that they had seen Him do on the night in which He was betrayed. In the midst of their confusion about what is next for each of these men, Jesus is restoring their memories as His disciples. He is restoring them as His disciples for the next part of their lives as Christians.

Between Peter jumping into the water and yet before he gets to Jesus, Peter apparently remembered how he had betrayed Jesus. His shame and remorse is overwhelming. He goes back to the boat and starts hauling in the fish and, literally, counting the fish. (There were 153 fish in that net, by the way.) Anything to keep busy enough to not have to face Jesus face-to-face again after failing Him so miserably.

In Wilson’s challenge to each of us, he commented that many of us, like Peter, have memories that still are filled with our pain, our shame, our failures, our hurts, our fears, our jealousies, and our unforgiveness. Those things become barriers that keep us from Jesus, and keep us from stepping into what God wants for our lives.

Jesus directly calls on Peter, and Peter comes, pain and shame and all. Then Jesus, with the fire, the smells, the reenacted miracles, and the three questions about Peter loving Him, takes Peter back to that night of failure and redeems it. He gives Peter another opportunity to face that night, and Peter gets it right this time. Peter is restored as the past is released. He can’t carry his past with him anymore.

So many of us, when we’ve been hurt in the church, opt to retreat back to the ‘easier’ days before we started following Jesus just like Peter here.

If we are hurt in the church, and we successfully avoid the temptation to return to our earlier ‘before-Christ’ activities, many of us still fall by following someone into their escape from the pain of Christian life, like the other disciples in John 21 did.

How many of us carry hurts and pain and shame that keep us from Jesus? And keep Jesus from being able to work in us and through us? He wants to heal us and restore us… but we have to go to Him with our pain and face Jesus as we really are. We have to let go of the things that have separated us from the pain of facing God with our past. Confess it to Him. Ask Him to forgive you. And allow Him to heal, redeem, and restore you in the process.

Aldersgate 2013

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Lexington Convention Center, Lexington, KY

Leave a comment

Filed under Bible, Church Leadership, Devotional

He counted me faithful…

Today I ran across a note I wrote at campmeeting at Elim Bible Institute about 1 Timothy 1:12:

I continue to be impressed by that verse last night’s speaker hit on: 1 Timothy 1:12: “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry…” (NKJV)

My NIV says “…who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service.”

One of his main points was that we all end up questioning God and saying WHY am I in the ministry? I DIDN’T SIGN UP FOR THIS!!!! And it’s good to be able to remember that HE is the one who strengthened and enabled us and HE is the one that felt we were faithful and HE is the one that put us into & appointed us to HIS service of ministry.

There are many days when I need to be reminded of that. And I bet I’m not alone!

Leave a comment

Filed under Bible, Journaling