The First 100

Many consider the first 100 days of a new President’s time in office as a marquee event. How has the president conducted himself? What policies implemented? What promises has he ignored? 😉 So, in keeping with this theme, today PS23 authors answer some questions regarding their first 100 sermons. Each of them answers a few questions:

Unknown-2Question 1: What is your favorite duty in pastoral ministry? (besides preaching)?

Andy: Answering questions. I enjoy hosting public Q&A’s with the Congregation as well as those, “Pastor, do you have a minute” opportunities. I have found that both of these situations allow for shepherding by fostering growth in trust between the one with the question and me as their pastor.

Greg:  I actually have two favorite duties in pastoral ministry. One is having the incredible privilege of studying the Word. That’s my lifework and I love it! It is incredibly sanctifying and I wish I could convey to my students everything that I personally learn each week from the deep study of God’s Word. My second favorite is meeting with the students. Teenagers (believe it or not) are real people who have desires, passions, likes, dislikes, hobbies, dreams, and are just like adults — probably why they are called young adults! (oops, soapbox moment 🙂 ). Buying them a meal, ice cream, or a cup of coffee (yes, teenagers drink coffee – train ’em early, I say!) is a joy. You get them one-on-one and you hear their heart. Amazingly, when I show my interest in them as a person, even the quiet ones speak more than me.

John: Counseling. Few things are as joyful as bringing the scriptures to bear in the life of a believer who has a teachable heart and seeing him or her or them change as the word of God is opened to them in light of their particular struggle.

Jason: My favorite times in pastoral ministry come when I get to hang out with other men. I love spending time with guys who hunger to know and honor the Lord. Their desire to learn spurs me on to know God better too. I love wrestling through the trials of life with men. It’s as if we’re in battle together, working to honor the Lord through the trials. Every, lunch, breakfast, coffee, or time at the range encourages me. Such a joy to be around teachable, faithful men who want to serve the Lord.

Question 2: What advice would you go back and give to yourself when you first started?Unknown-3

John: Take seriously all the advice you rolled your eyes at in seminary. You will be busier in ministry than in seminary; the man who brought you in may be the one who tries to take you out; be patient if you see changes that need made etc. etc. etc.

Jason: I concur with John and want to move the answer down the football field just a bit. Continue to be patient. Enjoy every moment when you’re there and mentally be there.

Greg: (remember, I am in youth ministry, so my answer is tailored in that direction) I would tell myself 11 years back when I first started youth ministry, to remember to shepherd your leaders as well as your students. Youth leaders are particularly special to me because not everyone sees the importance of ministering to youth. So LEAD THEM! Spend time with them. Train them. Pray for them. Have fun with them. Care for them. The leaders are just as important as your youth you shepherd.

Andy: Don’t assume anything! Every church has its own rhythm and you need to spend some time learning it. Likewise, patience is not compromise…in other words if you see things which need changing take the time to learn how that particular thing/ministry/etc. got started so you can address the underlying need. Sometimes, things don’t need to be “changed” so much as they need to be refocused upon their original purpose.

Unknown-4Question 3: How do you handle your weaknesses as they come up in ministry?

Greg: The weakness depends, is it sin or just a true weakness? If it is sin, I confess it to God or the person/people I sinned against. No need to hide it. Confess it and let ministry keep happening unhindered and pure. If it is not sin, like my lack of administrative skills, then I find someone with that skill to help me. I seek out a person/people to help. I have to remember that this is a body of believers with many gifts and talents. Even I, as the shepherd and fellow sheep, must depend upon other sheep.

Andy:  Prayer! Not only do I pray but I ask for others to do likewise. I have been blessed to enjoy the friendship of two men who also serve in leadership with me. I say blessed for the Lord has provided them strength in the places I am weaker and vice versa. It seems to be a means by which the Lord is growing a spirit of humility in each of us as we must rely upon one another. Therefore, it is often the answer to prayer that when I or another faces a weakness the solution is to ask the one with the strength to take the lead.

Jason: I am not gifted in my weaknesses. Just like Greg, I pray and find other faithful servants who can serve in the areas where I am weak. The body is Christ’s and He will equip us for His purposes. 🙂

John: Prayerfully! Rely on God, knowing it’s better to do a few things with exellence than many things poorly and that if your people know you truly love them, they will be willing to forgive your short comings.