I say 10 things, I have actually learnt far more in 10 years of ministry but thought one thing for every year was enough. They are in no particular order and the comment on each of the 10 is by no means exhaustive of my thoughts on the matters, but I hope that you find it interesting and helpful.
#1 – you’re not a good as you think you are || when you have spent three years in a academic institution, whether a University studying theology or whatever your chosen field, you may emerge from that bubble somewhat delusional and think that you are the answer to the problem, even if there is not a problem! You may have bags of potential to be world shaker for Jesus, but you also have lots to learn. Things will not be as easy as they sounded in lectures and the reality of ministering is a chaotic world will hit hard in the first few months. You may be good at what you do from the off, but there is always room to grow!!
#2 – people not programmes matter || it is people who are the purpose of ministry not programmes. Programmes are tools which are to be used to serve the needs of people. People must never be used to serve the needs of programmes. If the success of a programme becomes more important than people; kill the programme not the people you are called to serve!
#3 – when you’re married you cannot work like a single person || it seems obvious but in the heat of ministry and pressure you can forget that if you fail to be there for your family, your ministry will suffer. I learnt this lesson very quickly after getting married!! There will be seasons when life will be more hectic than others but neglect your wife & kids at your peril. Love your wife more than the ministry, if you lose sight of this you will eventually not have ministry and potentially no spouse!
#4 – build team with people who are different || it is easy to build team with people that are like you but that team will be boring! Yes, have chemistry. Yes, make sure you get on. Yes, they have to do the job well. However, for me the sign of a good leader is one who can lead people who have different gift mix, different personalities and different outlooks to achieve the same purpose. It is a healthier team when diverse people can work together for the same purpose and objectives.
#5 – take risks || this is something that I’m learn more and more in recent years. No one ever broke new ground or went on adventure by playing it safe.
#6 – know who you are || don’t try and be like anyone else, it is a complete waste of time. God had made you to be you, so stop trying to be like anyone else. The sooner you realise this the sooner you will start to be fulfilled in who God has made you and called you to be.
#7 – release people according to their strengths || identify peoples strength and abilities quickly and enable them to serve where they are strong that way you set people up for success and fulfilment not failure. Don’t just put people where there are gaps in ministry it will do them no good or the ministry. As the question are they a good fit for this? If not find a different area for them to serve. Understand that not everyone can serve in a church based ministry but seek to equip every believer to serve Jesus well wherever they are!
#8 – celebrate others success || genuinely and gladly celebrate when other succeed and do well. Whether that is people on your team who preach better than you or lead better than you, celebrate it. Celebrate it when your peers do well and their churches grow. Doing so keeps your heart right and is the gateway for generosity.
#9 – faithful and fruitful || your aim is not to have a well known name in the small pond of the christian celebrity culture. Jesus requires you to be faithful to him and be fruitful in the place he has called you to be. Anything else is a bonus, but it is not the main deal. Ministry is about making Jesus famous not us!
#10 – deal with stuff at the right time in the right way || deal with issues in the right time having thought through a plan and the impact on the church and the people. Remember, if you don’t deal with it someone else will have to! If the issue is that you just don’t like something (i.e. not a sin issue) then it is a preferred taste issue and maybe you just have to live with it?! If it is an issue that affects the ministry, the church or the witness to Jesus, deal with it! You along with the elders of the church are called by God to shepherd the people he has entrusted to you. Sometimes you have to lose one from your flock for the benefit of the whole. Don’t be afraid to take issues, but be afraid if you tackle it with a wrong heart or motive.
These are just some things that I have learned over the last 10 years in ministry. To be honest I could probably write a individual post on each of them. If you would like to engage with me on any of these then please leave a comment.