Seven Lessons I Have Learned in Ministry

Hillside Mike RichesKnow God and His Priorities
As a church leader you need to understand God’s priorities that will enable you and the people you lead to get from place of status quo to God’s objectives and/or outcomes. While God is immutable, life in Christ is about change and transformation.

You need to have a clear understanding of who God is, what God is like, His values, and the mission of His Church. Then you juxtapose those against where you and the people you lead are at that moment in time. You then are able to identify what needs to be done to enter into alignment with God. This is reformation.

Know Yourself
You must know yourself, how God has wired you. What are the spiritual gifts, skills, and passions that God has given to you? What is God’s call on your life? What’s your function in God’s Kingdom and His purposes? What are your strengths and weaknesses?

This will help you understand where and how to invest yourself. You also are then able to recognize how you will need others. God never designed any of us to be all things to all people or to the church.

Know God’s Mission for the Church
You also need to know why the church is in existence
. What are we to accomplish? How are we to accomplish God’s mission?

The power of influence that our culture and world’s system have on us affects our leadership and function of the Church. God’s work is done by God’s power in God’s love explained in God’s truth.

Jesus said that as the Father sent Him into the world He is sending His followers. We, His followers, are to do what Jesus did in the same power in which He operated. We need to understand “how”.

Balance God’s Word and Power
It is critical to understand the value of both God’s Word and God’s Power. There are churches that are Word-based (Scriptures), but limited in moving in God’s power. And there are many churches that are power/experience based but lack a solid and comprehensive understanding in the Scriptures.

The two are not mutually exclusive. There is a need to have a good grasp of both and to be experientially balanced in both aspects.

Lead into God’s Presence
It is essential for a spiritual leader is to know how to lead people into God’s presence. This means the leader must him or herself know how to enter into God’s emphasized presence. And I am not talking about merely a worship time or a quiet time. Such activities can be part and parcel of experiencing God’s presence but they in and of themselves are not the destination.

Throughout the Scriptures, experiencing God’s emphasized presence results in revelation being received about God, the person, and/or a situation. Experiencing God’s presence effects life change from error to truth, and from sin to conviction and righteousness. Experiencing God’s presence also results in people being empowered by God and living in His power.

So much of the Christian life originates in and out of God’s emphasized presence.

A Journey not a Destination
Striving led me to a short season of depression. If there is one thing I wish that I was taught by someone earlier in life, it is that the Christian life on this earth is a journey and not a destination…not a final resting place.

When you see it as a destination this leads to discouragement, disillusionment, and disheartenment. But whilst the Christian life is not a destination there are mile markers along the way. The fact that the Christian life on this earth is not destination oriented does not mean we do not live massively expectant lives.

Our culture preaches to us about destinations. “One day you will retire. One day you will reach financial independence. One day you will get married”. The covert or sometimes overt message is that when you reach these destinations life can be put on cruise control. As followers of Christ we are pioneers and pilgrims, we will never put life on cruise control.

Compartmentalization
You cannot compartmentalize your life into you, your family and the church you lead. Your life has to be comprehensive and holistic.

In life you may hear people say “My ministry is infringing on my married life, my married life is interfering with my relationship with my children, my job is getting in the way with my family time, my children are encroaching on my relationship with my spouse.”

As followers of Christ we shouldn’t compartmentalize. What happens in your church leadership affects your marriage and vice versa; what happens within your relationship with your children feeds into your church leadership, all are ministry. We are a like a stew. All these different elements are part of the whole.