I remember the simple message I saw on Sesame Street when I was growing up: “It’s nice to share.” Google the phrase and you get 137,000 results.
If it’s so nice, why do we have such a tough time with it? Watch a group of toddlers for a few minutes and you see the trend. “Mine!” little Willie says while he rips a toy out of the hands out of another kid who was just minding his own business. The victim immediately takes it back and tries to set the record straight, “Mine!”
Children’s pastors, youth pastors, senior pastors, and worship pastors romp around in their church sandboxes doing the same thing. (Admit it. How many of you just noticed that I didn’t put “senior pastor” first on that list? Shouldn’t he be first? “Mine!”)
The Bible is a pretty weird leadership book. It talks about serving and shepherding. It promotes promoting. It says, “Hey pal, that toy isn’t yours at all. Let it go.”
We’ve all watched volunteers stumble and do things less efficiently than we would do them. Excellence is cool but achieving excellence while neglecting volunteers is more about pride than it is about ministry. Read that last sentence again and let it soak for a minute. Ministry is lasting. Shaping. Ongoing. Developing.
Equipping others takes a lot longer than just bringing in another pro, there’s no doubt about it. It takes time to walk people through 1) I lead, you watch; 2) We lead together; 3) You lead, I watch. But at the end of the process we can move on to begin it anew with someone else. When we hold on tight to a ministry and do not train others to replace us we do disservice to them and to the church of Jesus.
Have you had a ministry die when you stopped participating? It probably means you were controlling it and limiting it more than truly using it to build the Kingdom. Ouch.
Directing ministry without equipping others is a lot like playing this online game. The pieces just won’t fit together. Try it and you’ll get my point.
I want to run a “Drop Dead Ministry.” What that means is that midstream I can literally drop dead and it won’t matter a whole lot. People can stop, say some nice things and put pictures on poster boards but then, move on with ministry. It’s my goal. What’s yours?
He handed out gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, and pastor-teacher to train Christians in skilled servant work, working within Christ’s body, the church, until we’re all moving rhythmically and easily with each other, efficient and graceful in response to God’s Son, fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, fully alive like Christ. Eph 4-12-14. MSG