Many of us started serving the Lord with lots of zeal and passion. But as time goes by, we are sucked into the busyness and hectic nature of ministry. We realized that many people are not listening to our sermons, people are not growing the way we want them to and the church seems to be stagnant in growth. By and by, we get busier running programs and attending meetings. Sometimes, we can even end up losing our first love as we serve God. The initial zeal and passion have become a drag. We preach and teach without purpose and we pastor without love and concern. We just get the job done.
Our zeal and passion may not be able to sustain us all the time, it may one day diminish. We may one day feel lost in ministry. What is important is to have a clear philosophy of ministry. This answers why we serve, how we serve and what we want to see through our serving. The question of why we serve is a question of both motivation and calling. We should be clear that our motivation is none other than the Lord, Jesus Christ Himself. His sacrifice on the cross is what that sustains us. It is not our momentary zeal or our ego. The other aspect concerns our calling. We need to know what God calls us to do. It is from this calling that we are able to derive our vision and mission.
With regards to how we serve, it refers to the basic values and principles underlying our service to God. For example, we may list integrity as one of our values. It can also be sincerity or love. They are the important values and principles that we hold on to as we serve God. They are the things that we would not compromise.
Another important components of our philosophy is about what we want to see in our ministry. Sometimes we can end up serving for the sake serving. We can be teaching or preaching very well, but what do we really want to see? Are we just informing the congregation? Or are we more interested in transforming them? Are we more interested in church wealth more than church health? Are we more concerned about quantity than quality? Ministry is definitely not just about delivering our job, we need to know if our congregations are becoming more Christ-like. In fact, our chief purpose in our ministry is to help people to be restored to the image of God, so that they may be blameless before God. The implication is that if we lead people to the Lord, we would not stop there. We would lead them to mature in Christ. If we are preaching or teaching, we are going to ask if people are transformed to be more like Christ rather than asking whether they know more about the Bible. This component would determine how faithful we are to the calling of God for us. It will also decide how we use of time and how we channel our resources for ministry.
It is important to work all these out as we serve God. Let us take some time to seek God and clarify our philosophy before jumping into anything. God’s calling is sacred, do not abused it or misuse it. May God grant us His wisdom and strength.
We often have plans to develop training or courses for the church. We probably have schedule to meet the leaders of the church and hold meeting with them. We may also meet those potential leaders in our midst. But one group of people we tend to miss is our staff. We maybe discipling them while they are not yet staff. But when they come on board and become our staff finally, we start to neglect them. Suddenly we have a lot of expectations on them to perform. We have a lots of work for them to do and follow up. We expect them to do well and show results. We may give comments and feedback but most of the time is about their work and duties. We do little about their character, their values and principles. Well, we may send them to a seminary and hope that the seminary transforms their lives. But it does not go this way most of the time.
We cannot leave the work of discipling or mentoring our staff to an institution or a programme or courses. It must be done in person. Being our staff, they have become the most important people to be mentored and discipled. They should have the priority in our time. Dear leaders, don’t neglect your staff. They are your most important assets in church. They would be your future leaders. Don’t just get them to work. Don’t just expect them to perform. Don’t just want them to show results. Spend time to relate with them and disciple them in their life, not just ministry.