MONROE, MI – As I come to retirement, I have some random thoughts about ministry. Most of these are gleaned from other sources (but I don’t remember most of the sources so I’ve not cited them).
1. People Don’t Care What You Know Until They Know that You Care
Love God’s people. I think that’s what Jesus meant when he told Peter three times, “Tend My sheep” (John 21). I recently heard that a pastor needs to be like a rhinoceros, a big heart and thick skin.
2. The Business of the Church Is Making Disciples
The church’s business is fulfilling the Great Commission. That means full-bodied discipleship which includes helping persons come to know Jesus, and grow to be more like Him. Too often we think the church’s business is maintaining the building, administering the programs or managing the finances.
3. Don’t Overestimate What You Can Do in One Year and Underestimate What You Can Do in Five
Change is slow; plan for the long haul. The vast majority of your people are not early adopters, and it takes them time to process change. I have a pastor friend who says when he presented a new idea the first answer was always “No.” Given time the answer became, “Maybe.” Finally, after time to process, the answer was “Yes.”
4. Don’t Quit Before You’re Finished
Ministry is hard; it takes perseverance. We’re tempted to give up too soon. We’re tempted to move on to a greener pasture. Ask God to give you the strength to stay where He’s placed you until He’s done with you there.
5. When You’re Tired of Saying Something Is When Many of Your People Are Just Beginning to Get it
“Over-communicate.” People have to hear ideas, especially new ideas, multiple times, and in multiple ways. They need to hear it and read it. That said, the most powerful communicator is the pastor, and the most powerful place of communication is the pulpit.
6. Things Rarely Turn Out as Bad as We Imagine
Seems like we can always imagine the worst-case scenario. We can imagine all the ways things could go wrong. However, when we step out in faith in obedience to the Lord, things almost always turn out better than we could ever have imagined.
7. God Is Still Working in the World and He’s Still in Control
Even when the situation looks bleak, God is still in control. God is never surprised by your situation. He never says, “I didn’t know that was going to happen.” Faith means being obedient to God, and trusting Him to work in our situation.
8. Don’t Rush Your Quiet Time
I saved the best to last. This is from Henry Blackaby. It’s a reminder that our personal relationship with Jesus is the most important thing. We won’t be effective in ministry unless we walk closely with the Lord.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bob Wood is the pastor of Heritage Baptist Church in Monroe, where he has served for more than 5 years. He served as a Church Strengthening Missionary with the BSCM from September 2006 to July 2014. He also recently served as VBS Training Coordinator for the BSCM and as Coordinator for the Church Planter Assessment Retreat for Send Detroit for NAMB.