Why Are You Here, Ministry Leader?

The more I discover who I am on the spiritual journey and the more I sit with ministry leaders seeing their passion, hearing their longing, feeling their pain…the more I notice that many of us are being honest and asking---

Why am I here?

If I believe that I am here to serve Jesus, change the world and help people there will be constant pressure and wondering if I am doing enough.  Human need in this broken world is endless, my energy is limited, and let’s be honest—ministry work is messy and not all that fulfilling sometimes.  These revelations can be jolting to a pure hearted ministry leader who started out with very different expectations.

But God is at the center of our ministry story and He is always calling us deeper into intimacy with Him.  That is where the journey is going for us (thankfully!) no matter how hard we kick and scream when everything appears absolutely different and backwards.

I am here to enjoy God and let Him love me.

Though in the beginning, I have to admit I thought otherwise.  I thought I was here to change the world, to love Jesus. I thought that’s what a disciple did. But now I see these are secondary callings.

A disciple is before a disciple does.

Yes, a disciple is an accepted son or daughter that allows God to love them.  Jesus’ behavior followed His secure identity as God’s beloved son.  If the most important thing about Jesus is that He is God’s beloved Son, then the most important thing about me is the same.    I see Jesus in John 13 washing the disciples’ feet with unhurried savoring. He was enjoying their presence, remembering the good times on the road with them.  He was grateful that they received Him and let Him love them.  He knew they would eventually do, but first they received.

He created me to receive love from Him, not to do something for Him.

The more I open myself up to receive and notice this Love, the more filled I am, filled to overflowing with love to others. Ministry then becomes an overflow, a by-product, not a duty.

I think God brings us all, at some point in our journey, to discover that ministry, marriage, children, The American Dream…..you name it…..in no way compares to intimacy with Him.  So if these things feel flat to you right now….be glad!  It is an invitation for your inner life with God to blossom in new ways.  And for you to discover you are here to be loved.

 

Beth Bennett, Director of Coaching

bbennett@ministryventures.org

For more faith-based nonprofit resources visit  www.MinistryVentures.org.


Summer Renewal and Molting for Ministry Leaders

“The Lord has brought me into a delightful wide open space!” (Psalm 18:19)

Remember those lazy days of summer as a child? The anticipation of playing in the refreshing neighborhood pool with friends, lingering long over an ice cream cone and family vacation at a beautiful Northern Michigan lake are all memories that I relish.

My soul was fed during those childhood summers.  Now, as an adult ministry leader, I find myself longing for much of the same.

  • Unhurried savoring.
  • Pressure free days from the unending demands of caring for people.
  • Space to discover what my soul truly desires.
  • Different places with a different pace.
  • Being real about how I need to be cared for and loved by my Heavenly Father and then letting Him do it!

Summertime invites us to a healing rhythm if we will respond. Heal and detach from the performance track and expectations that we labor under.  Healing that goes deep.  The harshness of Winter and new growth of Spring are behind us.  Now is the time to relish and savor His goodness.  Rest and enjoy Him.

As we reflect in the slowness that summer offers and take a long, loving look at what is real in our lives, we may discover this--

“Sooner or later pastors and ministry leaders reach a place where they realize their natural gifts and abilities aren’t going to carry them where they need to go in their leadership. They may be aware that they are dangerously tired or running on empty but have no idea what to do about it. Or maybe they have been leading primarily from the demands of their own egos, rather than a deep centeredness in God.

Many of us enter into leadership believing our gifts, skills, and training are what the Kingdom needs.  While all of these are important, something far more significant is needed if we are to be effective and fruitful for the long haul of leadership.”  (Ruth Haley Barton)

What is needed is a fresh touch from the Father, found in the Secret Place of intimacy with Him.  Freely receive a renewed sense of your belovedness from Him.  He doesn’t want your service or commitment.  He wants your love, time, attention.  Be accepted and delighted in.... in the stillness of sitting with God.

Let this Summer be a season of molting and transformation for you!   Molting is a renewal time for ducks, the shedding of old feathers, making way for new growth.  During this approximately 6 week season, the duck cannot fly.   And ducks are perfectly content with little activity!  They freely receive this time of shedding old feathers, letting new ones grow for the next season of flight.

This idea of tending to our own souls and walking a path of transformation is more important than any ministry skill we might possess.

Could this fact alone make the way you know and tend the contents of your soul the most important aspect of your summer and ultimately your leadership?  I believe so!

Have a great one!

 

Beth Bennett, Director of Coaching

bbennett@ministryventures.org


Who Leads The Leader?

Being the leader of a God initiated cause can feel lonely and vulnerable.  We are constantly viewed as the visionary and executor, with followers waiting for us to communicate the next move.   We hear from God, move forward in faith (and being ok with this feeling very foggy at times) and then try to get everyone else on board.

But if we are honest, this wears us out!    Why doesn’t someone else move to the front of the line and lead?  Am I the only one with a passion and vision for this here?   Can someone else initiate and give voice to this idea I feel so called to impart?

Probably not, at least at first.   The unique expression of God on my life can only be expressed through me.  But I am human and I am limited and I feel alone in this calling sometimes.

The longer I work with leaders, the more I realize that those called out front need regular infusions of fresh creativity and boldness to do what God has called them to do.

Leaders need leaders, too.

Here are 3 things to consider:

1. Leadership of the Holy Spirit. Follow God’s voice as we let Him lead and love us each morning, reading the Bible and letting the Bible read us.  Without His nourishment and care, the confidence we need to lead just isn’t there.  Unless the Lord builds us personally and this house of ministry, we labor in vain. “For the Word of God is alive and active…discerning soul and spirit, judging the thoughts and attitudes of the heart”.  Heb 4:12

2. Leadership of the Body. Regularly look for places where God is working in bigger movements.     Webinars.  Retreats.  Training seminars.  Your church.    Desire to be led by the prophetic voices in the Body of Christ, and eagerly submit to their teaching.   Hearing their insights will resonate with what God is doing in you, will give wind in your sails, the needed courage to carry on and could keep you from a big mistake. The Body of Christ is meant to be guardrails for us.   “Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is…..speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit.”  Eph 5:17,19

3. Leadership of books. A leader is a reader and without at least 2 books cracked open, highlighted, scribbled notes in margins, I feel empty and lost.  Learning about other’s spiritual and leadership journeys can be a huge source of encouragement!  Books should be our mentors and friends.  “In the abundance of counselors there is victory.” Prov 11:14

 

What character trait sticks out from these 3?  Humility.  Leader, recognize your need to followThis will give you the authority to lead well.

Realize that God has resources right in front of us to sharpen, encourage and breathe fresh faith on us as leaders. And all we have to do it follow.  Then we will thrive.

 

Questions to Consider:

Who am I following?

Which point mentioned above is God inviting me to grow in?

 

Beth Bennett, Director of Coaching

For more faith-based nonprofit resources visit www.MinistryVentures.org