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The Hardest Part of Ministry: Saying No – David Hansen

Saying “no” can help focus your ministry, your leadership and your preaching.

I am an ordained pastor, serving a rural congregation. I lead worship and preach most Sundays. I sit at hospital beds. I conduct weddings and funerals and baptisms. I talk with people who are struggling with their faith. I lead meetings and help the community discover its vision. I celebrate with people, I rejoice with people.

When people talk to me about what I do, they often focus on those aspects that deal with death. Most Americans don’t spend a lot of time around death—our culture has largely sanitized the experience of death. Because of this unfamiliarity, most people assume that dealing with death is the hardest thing about being a pastor. It’s not.

The hardest part of being a pastor is saying no.

Not just saying no when asked by someone to do some task, but saying no to yourself and limiting the amount of work that you do. The work of ministry is not a finite task. At the end of the day when I go home, I can’t point to some finished product and say, “That’s what I did today.” There is always more to be done in ministry.

There is always more to be done. No matter how much you have done in a given day or week or month:

1. You can always spend more time visiting with people who are sick and homebound.

2. You can always spend more time talking with people who are grieving or hurting.

3. You can always spend more time at community events.

4. You can always spend more time reading, studying and praying.

5. You can always put yourself in charge of one more project or program.

6. You can always spend more time crafting and sharpening your preaching and worship leadership skills.

Short of the return of our Lord Jesus, there will always be more for those in ministry to do—some task will always be left unfinished when you stop working for the day.

There is a great satisfaction that comes with knowing that tasks have been finished, knowing that everything is complete. And for most people, it is uncomfortable to know that things are unfinished. But that is precisely the nature of ministry—unfinished.

But while the tasks of ministry aren’t finite, those of us in ministry most certainly are!

There comes a point when we have to stop. At some point, even if we could spend more time visiting, or reading, or teaching, or planning, we have to go home and be done for the day. We come to the point where we have to say, to ourselves or to others, “No, I can’t do that.”

As pastors, we do this work because we think it is important. We are passionate about the Gospel, and we care about the people whom we serve. And this makes it hard to say “No.” This passion for our work is precisely what makes it hard to say that there is not time for another program or project or meeting.

Unfortunately for many in ministry, the first thing to go is self-care: being rested, spending time with family, caring for our own souls. Next to go is often the work behind the scenes: the hard work of keeping oneself prepared for ministry—reading, attending learning events, all the things pastors and others in ministry do to make us better preachers, counselors, leaders and pastors.

And this is how burnout happens.

In ministry it often feels like the solution is to work more. The voice in our head says that if only I could work for a couple more hours, then the ministry of the congregation I serve would be more effective. But the opposite is true. An overworked pastor — one who does not set limits — becomes more and more ineffective at the work to which we are called.

This is the reality of living in this in-between time; when the work of the kingdom has begun but the kingdom has not yet come. No matter how much we do, the work of the kingdom will remain unfinished – and there is only one who can finish it.

If you are a ministry professional, learn this lesson well: Say no. Set limits. Learn to live in that place where there is more that could be done, and some tasks are unfinished.

And if you have a pastor or other minister whom you care about, encourage them to say no—encourage them to care for themselves, to set limits and to continue to make time to study and learn.

David Hansen

David Hansen

David Hansen is a Lutheran pastor serving in Texas. He helps pastors and churches to use new technology to bring the Good News to the world, and can be found on twitter @rev_david.

SOURCE: SERMON CENTRAL

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Publicado por em 12/11/2013 em POIMENIA

 

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35 Amazing Tips That Will Change Your Ministry

35 Amazing Tips That Will Change Your Ministry
J.D. Greear lists 35 things he wishes he knew when he started pastoring.
People ask me what I wish I’d known when I started pastoring. Here are 35 different things. At our church we call them plumblines. Our plumblines serve as guides for decision-making.

1. The gospel is not just the diving board, it’s the pool. Christians grow not by going beyond the gospel, but deeper into the gospel.

2. People are the mission.

3. Jesus commanded us to make disciples, not converts.

4. Discipleship happens in community.

5. God’s strategy for completing the Great Commission is planting churches in strategic cities.

6. The church is God’s demonstration community.

7. The church is God’s plan A.

8. Belief unlocks the power for the mission of God.

9. The church is not an audience; it is an army.

10. The week is more important than the weekend.

11. The best ministry ideas are in the congregation.

12. The Great Commission is completed through multiplication, not addition.

13. Churches should be evaluated by sending capacity, not just seating capacity.

14. Stay where you are; serve where you live; let’s be the church in that community (a value we promote in our multi-site strategy).

15. We multiply congregations, not preaching points (another value for multi-site).

16. Each small group should function like a small congregation.

17. People come because of quality and options; they stay because of personalization.

18. Those who serve are just as important as those you serve.

19. Live sufficiently, give extravagantly.

20. Generosity is contagious, and so is stinginess.

21. The sermon starts in the parking lot.

22. In light of global lostness, excellence must be balanced by “good enough”.

23. Word of mouth is the best advertisement.

24. Just because “we can” doesn’t mean “we should”.

25. Humility is shown by openness to the ideas of others.

26. Believe the best about others.

27. Move with the movers.

28. Nod to fashion; don’t embrace (especially as you age).

29. Preach the announcements (announcements are – or ought to be – how our people apply the mission).

30. Love is the most essential element of leadership.

31. Pushing out leaders creates more leaders.

32. You replicate what you celebrate.

33. It is easier to get 1 volunteer out of 3 than 3000: Make people feel like you are talking to them personally.

34. One size rarely fits all.

35. When I’m sick of saying it, the staff has just heard it. When they’re sick of hearing it, the church has just become aware of it.

J.D. Greear, Ph.D., pastors the Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, NC. Tagged by Outreach magazine as one of the fastest growing churches in America, the Summit has grown in the past 8 years from 400 to over 5,000 each weekend. The Summit Church is deeply involved in global church planting, having undertaken the mission to plant 1000 churches in the next 40 years. J.D. has authored Breaking the Islam Code and the upcoming Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary.

Source: CHURCH LEADERS

 
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Publicado por em 20/03/2012 em POIMENIA

 

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