Sunday, June 9, 2013

How to Know You're Failing in Ministry

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)


"If people need too much of you, they're not that close to Him."




    The envelope arrived.

    I was sooooooo excited; and ready to call Charlie and Doug and order the FLHTCU.

    Quarterly royalties check for my latest book.



    I'm reminded of a recent concert at the church.

    He was great!

    A friend compared me to him: "How did you like how he played...?  I'll bet you wish you could..."

    It's the song that I play at the opening of every worship service on the corner of Lincoln and Main.

    Yes, I know, he plays it better than me.


    An old memory came to mind.

    Not long after feeling called to begin the earliest Sunday worship services with gentle/quiet songs/hymns on my guitar about 15 years ago, a man who was a regular attendee approached me after a service and presented me with the guitar that I have used ever since.

    He said, "You do not play well; but this will make you sound better."

    He was/remains right.


    Just a few snapshots from the past that keep reminding moi that His Kingdom does not rise nor fall nor depend solely nor even greatly upon moi for advancement.

    I've just never had that sense that God can't get along without me; though I've always believed yet not always behaved that I'm privileged to do my best with what's been entrusted to me.

    Annnnnnnd once I got that/Him, I understood Romans 12; especially verse 3.

    Again, while I'm privileged as acts of gratitude to do my best with what's been entrusted to me, I just don't feel what I say and do is any more nor any less important than what others who love Him are saying and doing.

    Annnnnnnd that's sometimes hard to explain to folks who wanna get merit badges or constant attagirls/boys or brass plaques in their as opposed to His honor in, get this, sanctuaries, and...

    You know what I mean...

    Some folks seem to be more in need of affirmation and affection from others than...

    Too obviously, they have not read Matthew 6.

    Annnnnnnd some pastors, pulpiteers, and their instead of His supporting cast seem to relish people who seem to need them more than Him in a, get this, co-dependent kinda way.



    The point.

    The goal of ministry is to encourage/enable dependence upon God alone; noting no one but God has the resources divine enough to never fail here, now, and in the end.

    We know we're failing in ministry when people just can't seem to get along without us.

    It means we're failing to encourage/enable them to trust Him alone as the only truly/efficaciously existential and eternal way, truth, and life.

    It breaks the first few of the big ten; and borders on breaking that only unforgivably blasphemous sin.

    I think that's a big part of why Jesus often said, "God lifts up the humble and brings down the arrogant."

    Again, it's really, really, really arrogant to think people need us or anyone or anything as much as...

    Yeah, I know God works through us for...

    But even if you're thinking that right now, it may be time to go back to how you've enabled/encouraged inappropriate/inefficacious dependencies.

    Now go back to the quote at the top and then memorize Psalm 62 before resuming ministry.



Blessings and Love!


Chuck said...

I've always told people that my dream was to so equip the saints that I would work myself out of a job.

Robert said...

Dr. Bob,
You reminded me that I was periodically saying in my [oops, HIS] churches that my goal was to work myself out of a job; ie, to equip ALL the saints to do the work of the ministry.
And, as you know, it's hard for the pagans/barely/hardly Christians to hear that and think you're not trying to get out of work. "The saints will do the work of the ministry as a result, an overflow of their maturity." Was I the best person to visit in the hospital, teach little kids, care compassionately, etc. etc. ???? NOOOOO! So I was very glad when I left the Forks and they hardly missed me! Hallelujah!