Disgruntled Ministry Workers

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Lined across the front of the platform during a worship service, a group of children joyfully move, singing their special song with motions. That is, except for one little boy people can’t take their eyes off. He stands there with a furrowed brow, arms tightly crossed in front of him, and not opening his mouth the whole time. His body language speaks volumes. He clearly doesn’t want to be there.

Now let’s think about ourselves and how we come across to those we serve. Do people get the message that we want to be there with them? How open are we in both our posture and words? Are we communicating that we care? Does joy exude from our being? Or, do we come across similar to that disgruntled little boy?

Focus Tends to Go to the Disgruntled Ministry Workers

Just like our attention keeps getting drawn to that one little boy, so it is human tendency to pick out those who aren’t doing well in ministry.

A Word for All Ministry Workers, Not Just the Disgruntled
We need to heed the Apostle Paul’s instruction to the Thessalonian church “to acknowledge those who work hard among you” (1 Thess. 5:12-13). Let’s not neglect to extend our appreciation and gratitude to people who are serving with the right attitudes, actions, and words. Let’s put some focus on the good, and not let the one or two disgruntled ones distract us.

And, since disgruntled ministry workers can not only pull attention off of those who are doing well, but also negatively affect the big picture, we need to continue on with Paul’s instruction. He said, “And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.” (1 Thess. 5:14)  — See and respond to the inner need behind the disgruntled exterior.

A Word for All of Us About Our Attitudes

If you are like the boy: You may have legitimate reasons for feeling disgruntled about your place of service but your attitude could do damage to the cause of Christ. Others will notice and get distracted from where they need to be focused. Don’t, however, repress your feelings or simply put on a front. Rather, ask God to search your heart and work in you a change of attitude and an ability to deal with the issue in a godly manner.

If you are the recipient of someone who doesn’t want to be there: Remind yourself that this is one person. Try not to judge everyone because of a bad experience with an individual or two. You’ll miss the big picture of good that is going on around you.

If you are the ministry leader with someone who doesn’t want to be there: Do you know why their attitude is such? Have you taken the time to come along side of this person to listen, encourage, and spur him/her on?

How will we live out 1 Thessalonians 5:12-14 with one another?

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God’s Mission for the Church Revisited

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Jesus commands us to “Go and make disciples” (Matt. 28:19-20). According to the Barna group, many people in the U.S. Church today don’t know what the Great Commission is. Though the term itself isn’t found in the Bible, we need to ask if people know the words themselves and their significance for us as believers. Even more important, are we fulfilling this mission? Perhaps it’s time to revisit God’s Mission for the Church.

A Look at Jesus’ Command in Matthew 28:19-20

Often we think of the Great Commission as the outreach arm of the Church. A careful look at Matthew 28:19-20, however, lets us know that it’s much more encompassing. We are to …

“go and make disciples of all nations” — That’s the outreach part. We take the Good News of Jesus to the world around us and beyond (Acts 1:8).

“baptizing … and teaching them to obey …” — That’s helping people who have put their trust in Jesus to become more fully devoted followers (disciples) of Jesus.

Let’s Not Limit the Great Commission to Outreach Efforts

Matthew 28:19-20 commissions us to not only lead people to the Lord but also to shepherd them in the ways of the Lord. This is the mission of the Church. It isn’t merely about how many new converts we make. It’s also about how many of those people are going on to love the Lord with all their heart, soul, and mind, so that His love spills over into loving others as themselves (Matt. 22:36-40). And, it’s about how many of those people are doing their part in the Body of Christ (Eph. 4:16).

Need Help Revisiting God’s Mission of Discipleship?

Discipleship Bundle to Help with God's Mission for the ChurchThe TrainChurchLeaders.com site has a section devoted to this encompassing view of the Great Commission. The MinTools.com site divides it into two sections, one on Outreach Ministry and another on Shepherding Ministry. You’ll find much written on these sites but even more help if you order the Discipleship Bundle. In that resource you’ll get the Steering the Church Toward Discipleship Leadership Guide, Outreach Ministry Manual, and Shepherding Manual. These resources will help you gain a more comprehensive view on our mission to go and make disciples. (Each of those resources can also be ordered separately.)

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God’s Design for Body Life Revisited

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A section of the MinTools.com site has been devoted to Body Life, God’s design for the Church. It not only considers what the Bible teaches about it but also what it looks like for us to function as God intends. The TrainChurchLeaders.com site encourages leaders to steer the Church toward Body Life by their example, not just their words. As we look at the current state of the Church, perhaps we would do well to revisit God’s design for the Body and then the responsibility we each have in it.

Body Life Defined Through an Analogy

Scripture refers to the Church as the Body of Christ. Jesus is the Head and we are members of the Body, suggesting that we belong to one another. Take time to revisit what God says about His design for the Church to function as a Body:

Ephesians 4:11-16
Romans 12:1-21
1 Corinthians 12:14-26

To help us think about the analogy of the Church as a Body, consider these realities about the human body:

  • The human body is a unit (one) made up of many parts.
  • Each part is important and needed.
  • Each part has a function that contributes to the whole.
  • Parts of the human body function interdependently.
  • Parts of the human body are dependent on the brain for growth, health, and directives.

God, therefore, intends for the Church to function similarly.

Implications for the Church as a Body

If the Church is to function similar to the human body, then Body Life is how we relate to one another in ways that demonstrate:

  1. unity out of diversity … every part important and needed
  2. interdependence on one another … every part contributing to other parts
  3. dependence on the Head … every part living according to directives from Him

Need Help Revisiting God’s Design for Body Life in the Church?

Body Life BundleIn addition to content provided on the sites mentioned above, check out the Body Life Bundle. The Body Life Ministry Manual builds off of the content on the MinTools.com site whereas the Steering the Church Toward Body Life Leadership Guide stems from content from the TrainChurchLeaders.com site. Together, these two resources provide a more comprehensive look at God’s design for Body Life in the Church but they can also be ordered individually.

More: Body Life Resources

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God’s Purposes for the Church Revisited

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When was the last you revisited your church’s purpose? You can get help with that on the MinTools.com site which has a section devoted to the church’s purpose beginning with a look at God’s unchanging priority. The TrainChurchLeaders.com site also deals with God’s purposes for the Church and how it affects various leadership responsibilities.

Do We Align with God’s Priority?

Based on what Jesus defined as the greatest commandments, we could conclude that our purpose would be to live out those commandments.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matt. 22:37-39)

The next verse cues us in to the importance and priority of these commands. Jesus asserted, “All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

If the Law Hangs on Love for God and People, So Should our Church Purpose

The Ten Commandments listed in Exodus 20 are ways to show love for God and love for people.

Love for God:
You shall have no other gods before me.
You shall not make for yourself an idol.
You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God.
Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.
Love for People:
Honor your father and your mother.
You shall not murder.
You shall not commit adultery.
You shall not steal.
You shall not give false testimony.
You shall not covet your neighbor’s house … wife.

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The theme of love for God and love for people runs through Scripture with the various commands lining up under these purposes. God’s objectives haven’t changed. Consequently, we should be able to make a two column chart for our church with the headings Love God and Love People. What we do should be able to fit under one column or the other. That which does not clearly fit, should be examined for its value of the time and resources it takes in light of these purposes.

The question we must ask is if we are actively pursuing and lining up with God’s purposes as a church. If not, why not?

Need Help with Revisiting God’s Purposes?

Church Purpose Bundle
In addition to content provided on the above mentioned sites, check out the Church Purpose Bundle. The Church Purpose Ministry Manual builds off of the content on the MinTools.com site and the Steering the Church Toward God’s Purposes Leadership Guide from the TrainChurchLeaders.com site. Together, these two resources provide a more comprehensive look at our church purpose but they can also be ordered individually.

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Living an Abundant Life is Possible Because of Jesus

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In light of the hardships, dangers, sorrows, and trials of this world, we might question if the abundant life Jesus promised is possible. If it was up to us or dependent on our circumstances, we’d have reason to doubt. The possibility of us living the abundant life, however, rests on Jesus.

Living an Abundant Life Possible Because of Who Jesus Is

Abundant Life, to the Full, Possible Because of JesusJesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (Jn. 10:10). If Jesus merely came to earth as a man, albeit a good teacher and great example, then His claim of abundant life would probably just be an ideal to work toward. That, however, isn’t the case. Consider the One who made the claim and how that makes a full life possible right now.

  1. Jesus is our Creator. Having always existed, He knows the beginning from the end (Jn. 1:1-3; Rev. 21:6). He knows how we were made and what we truly need to have an abundant life and He has the power to give it to us.
  1. Jesus is Immanuel, God with us (Matt. 1:23). As God in the flesh, all the fullness and radiance of God resides in Him (Col. 2:9-10; Heb. 1:3). He possesses the kind of life He promised to give.
  1. Jesus is the Good Shepherd who cares for the sheep like none other can, ultimately laying down His life for the sheep (Jn. 10:11, 14-15). He has the love and compassion that drives Him to provide a full life for us.
  1. Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life, the firstborn from among the dead (Jn. 11:25-26; Col. 1:18). In being brought back to life, Jesus demonstrated that in Him there is power over death and sin so we can be overcomers.
  1. Jesus is the Living Water (Jn. 4:9-10; 7:37-38). He quenches our thirst like none other can. In Him we can be satisfied with little or much.
  1. Jesus is the Bread of Life (Jn. 6:35). He Himself is our daily sustenance. In Him we have what we truly need.
  1. Jesus is the King of kings and Lord of lords (Rev. 17:14; 19:16), sovereign over all. He not only has the power to grant us the life He offers but also the authority to do so.

No matter what we experience in this life, we can still have a full life because of this One who came to give us that life. Remember, “neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:39).

Take time to further reflect on the abundant life Jesus came to give us.

Jesus’ Claim
The Difference It Makes
How to Have It

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Leadership Training and Growth Important

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When we put leaders on pedestals, like as though they’ve arrived, we’ll likely find ourselves disappointed when they fail to live up to those expectations perhaps even disillusioned and ready to quit the church. What we tend to forget is that leaders, like us, are human beings. We’re all in process.

Leaders can deceive themselves into believing they’ve arrived which makes them feel superior to others, leading to pride. That puts them in a vulnerable position as “pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall” (Prov. 16:18). What they tend to forget is that just like everybody else, they too are in process.

The Apostle Paul, perhaps one of the greatest church leaders to live, said,

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 3:12-14)

What Leaders Mustn’t Do If They’re Going to Stay in Process

From Philippians 3:12-14, we can learn as much from what Paul did not do as from what he did do. He …

did not think too highly of himself. (“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect”, “I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it”)

did not rest on past accomplishments. (“forgetting what is behind”)

did not coast through his leadership efforts. (“I press on”, “straining toward”)

did not function with a narrow perspective. (“press on toward the goal”)

Leaders Must Continue Training and Growing to Stay in Process

The Apostle Paul acknowledged that he had so much more to learn and grow for he didn’t use a mere human or worldly standard of leadership. Rather, he said he wanted to “press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me”. That’s a standard of Christlikeness to which we will never attain but we can keep growing and advancing toward it.

Elsewhere Paul referred to the Christian life as a race. He said, “Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. ” (1 Cor. 9:24). Strict training is intentional and continual. Runners can’t stop training, thinking they’ve arrived, and expect to win. Perhaps Paul had this in mind when he said, “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:14). That’s a goal with an eternal prize which we won’t fully realize until eternity. It’s therefore a goal that requires perseverance (Heb. 12:1), “straining toward what is ahead” (Phil. 3:13).

Are you a church or ministry leader who realizes that you have not yet arrived? Check out the site, TrainChurchLeaders.com, developed by Ministry Tools Resource Center, for church leaders wanting to stay in process.Leadership Training at TrainChurchLeaders.com

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