Tag Archives: Partners in Ministry

The HEART of the Team

These are my sermon notes for this past Sunday (January 1, 2012) at the Clarks Mills UMC. This is primarily an expanded outline from which I then preached. 



Super Bowl!

TEAMWORK…Establish a team that can work together and knows the same playbook…
Christ wants to establish a team WITH US!
Not just those who SAY they’re Christian or those who go to church… but those who know the same playbook, have the same ground rules for working together with each other and with Christ.


1 Samuel 16:7

“Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
It is in our hearts that we will be Christian.
In our hearts we will make the choices to be a part of the team, set out to make disciples for Jesus Christ.
It is through our hearts that we will show
Matthew 7:16
“By their fruit you shall recognize them.”
What will people around us recognize by the “fruit” the grows from our hearts?

Dr. Roy Trueblood, in his book Partners in Ministry, used that word HEART as an acrostic to identify 5 key ground rules that teams, especially ministry teams, HAVE TO HAVE in order to be GREAT teams.
Jesus said repeatedly, Let him who has ears to hear, hear.
Don’t let this message go in one ear and out the other….
Jesus showed us the importance of this and gave us the example…
John 4… Woman at the well.
He’s tired, and sits down to rest while the disciples go on…
He hears the woman… understands the rejection and pain that she’s operating out of, and meets her right there where she is.
So often we Christians look at where the world around us & the people around us OUGHT to be and get upset , angry, or depressed because they don’t seem to get it.
Jesus showed us the better way… Stop. Hear them and REALLY listen. Understand where they’re coming from. Meet them where they are.

Again, Jesus is our example:
John 8…woman taken in adultery…

Who accuses you?

Go and sin no more.

Jesus affirmed the greatness and worth of those around him.
·       Ate & drank with sinners and even prostitutes mk 2.16
·       Nathaniel… I saw you under the fig tree… john 1:48

John 12:1-18
Mary & Martha’s home
Mary broke box of ointment, disciples complained about impracticality. 

Jesus saw her loving intentions.

Ephesians 4.15
Paul teaches that it is as we speak “the truth in love” that “we will in all things grow up into him who is the head, that is, Christ.”
Truth, without love, without compassion, tears down and wounds the one to whom you speak.
   – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – 
In many organizations, at their first meeting of the year, they install their new officers. And, in essence, so do we today. BUT, I want us to be MORE than just a roster of officers… It is my hope, my prayer, and my goal, that we be a MINISTRY TEAM.
Officers have authority to do their job and are responsible to go do their job and carry out their assigned tasks.
A Ministry TEAM, has team members who do have specific tasks and areas that are their responsibility, but they are dependant upon everyone else in the team doing their jobs as well.
So, I don’t talk about “officers” of the church “organization,” but rather we work as a “team” each of us doing our job but completely ineffective unless we’re doing it WITH the rest of the team as a part of that team.
One final word…
All of these things we’ve talked about today are built upon the assumption that you KNOW Jesus Christ first!
These are not qualities that you’re going to be able to work on alone. You MUST have Jesus Christ as your foundation you or it won’t make a difference.
That’s why one of the United Methodist Book of Discipline, (the “play book” if you will of the United Methodist Church) includes a requirement that those serving in positions of leadership and responsibility must have Jesus Christ as their Lord and their Savior first or else they are NOT eligible to lead in our church.
As we work together in 2012, let’s remember the HEART of the team!
–All Scripture references from The Holy Bible, New International Version, 1984 (NIV).

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized


This was my church newsletter article from july…

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

“Whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed, and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’ hands grew weary, so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it, while Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side. So his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.”

—Exodus 17:11-12, English Standard Version (ESV)

In Exodus 17:8-14, there is a record of one of the first battles faced by the recently freed Egyptian slaves on their journey to their ancestral homeland: Israel. The Lord tells Moses to send Joshua out with the fighting men to defend the children of Israel (perhaps a million or more people!) Meanwhile, Moses is to go to the top of the nearby mountain that overlooks the plain where the battle is being fought. God’s deal was this: As long as Moses’ hands were raised in blessing over the fighting Israelite warriors, Israel was winning. But Moses’ hands got tired and he had to put them down every few minutes. And that’s when the enemy, the Amalekites, had the upper hand.

So Moses’ brother, Aaron, and his father-in-law, Hur (also called Jethro), got a rock for Moses to sit on and then they literally helped hold his hands up non-stop and, indeed, the Israelites won the battle!

Who was the leader? Moses, yes, and Joshua, too. But Aaron and Hur were just as important, for they enabled the ministry (God’s blessing through Moses’ outstretched arms) to continue. Without those two, the battle would not have been won.

Last March, (2009) a group of six leaders from our congregation joined me near Pittsburgh for a weekend ministry training event called PARTNERS IN MINISTRY. It was based, in part, on this spiritual principle that there are NO unimportant parts of the church’s ministry team. Agreed, the pastor, lay leader, and some committee heads are much more visible, but we firmly believe we cannot do everything that God has called us to do without the help of every single one of the people that God has sent to this church family.

How are you involved in helping our church minister to others? Are you a volunteer on a work team with the trustees or perhaps our NHN (Neighbors Helping Neighbors) mission group or the LINUS Project? Do you work behind the scenes on a committee helping to set up projects and events? Or are you simply one who has the ministry of Aaron and Hur, encouragers and supporters, who literally make all the difference to our ministry team leaders?

That’s one of the key pieces of the whole Partners in Ministry idea. We are ALL in this together. It’s sort of like having a box with all the parts of a beautiful, sleek mountain bike. It does absolutely no good to anyone unless those separate pieces are assembled together. And if, when you’re trying to assemble that bike, you discover there’s one (or two or 20) of the pieces missing, then there is NO WAY that the end product will be a safe, working bicycle.

Friends, we’re a lot like those bicycle pieces: each of us essential for the completion of this congregation’s true purpose of making disciples. But unless we have stepped into our specific ministries (like Moses, Joshua, Aaron, & Hur did), then our task, and our ministry, will never be accomplished. Furthermore, it is in the coming together that we can be ‘assembled’ by our Heavenly Father. Can you be a Christian by yourself? Yes, but like Thomas, you may just miss the moment when Jesus comes, because you’re not “assembled together.”

What is your ministry? How can you serve God along side us?

What excuses keep you from worshipping with us or ministering with us? What needs to happen to fix that?

Encourage. Serve. Assemble. Attend. Bless. Worship.

And see what God will do in us and through us for His glory!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized