Posts Tagged ‘ministry’
I have had the privilege of preaching many times over the years.
I remember the first times I preached … I was extremely nervous. I had planned and studied and crafted it so well, that when I delivered it, it lasted a whopping 20 minutes long. I was aiming for at least twice that.
Preaching is a funny thing. Much like music style at church, there is a preaching style that is preferred. I have tried to change my style to fit in ways that people needed to hear.I used to spend hours preparing not only the studying portion of the message, but the presentation. That presentation would include the notes and the visual aspect (stuff on slides). I usually would wait until the last hours to produce the “visuals” and then stay up to the wee hours of the morn finalizing that … then going to the church to make the final copies. Ugh.
I have a routine/habit for preaching that tends to go like this.
- Decide on a topic
- Spend time researching the topic
- Realize that I didn’t pray enough and jumped the gun
- Allow God to direct me to a topic or passage of Scripture
- Read the passages on the topic or the passage in context
- Read the passages in a BIGGER context
- Think through logical points (based on research)
- Take a break and play some kind of game or do something to distract me
- Create outline that makes sense
- Think that I don’t have enough to last for 40-50 minutes, so prepare more and repeat steps above
- Re-create outline
- Realize that I have to much to go with so trim
- Re-create outline
- Study more because now it doesn’t seem enough (again) …. repeat these steps a few time
- Usually on Saturday I pull my final stuff together and then go to church to practice in my head (not outloud) trying to get the message outline in my head
- Freak because it is either to short or too long
- Go through outline making edits
- Normally I take a nap in the sanctuary (not necessarily on purpose, I just lay down trying to go through the major points in my head and end up sleeping in between praying and preparing) … oh yeah, I didn’t mention this but I really do a lot of praying throughout trying to make sure that I am listening to what God might have me change and to make sure when I preach, it is His words being spoken but within my personality/style.
- After the nap (I mean prayer and outlining) I usually play around on the piano and think how fun it would be to be a rock star.
- Then I go over the message a couple more times and then realize that the whole message is dumb because I haven’t spent nearly enough time making sure that I am allowing God to guide my thoughts and just created MY outline.
- Get up and read the passage in a bigger context to make sure it is fitting the point of the original author and that it is focused on Jesus.
- Before going back home, finish printing the final outline and visuals.
- Go back home and go to bed (usually Mer is sleeping by then ’cause it’s laaaate in the night/eeeeearly in the morning. While sleeping I am praying and going through the outline.
- Wake up in the AM, get coffee and something in my stomach resembling a breakfast that is not greasy.
- Go to church and if early enough stand on the platform and try to think through who might show up, pray for them and go through the message.
The last time I preached though … I didn’t follow my 567 step routine. I was sick. I had a final go/no-go decision to make by Saturday afternoon and at that moment I felt ok. Later that night I was sick. It was the worst that I have “presented” a message in years. What upsets me the most was my reaction though. I know that when I preached I presented our need for Jesus (if anyone who was there didn’t hear about Jesus, let me know so I am not off base), I was more upset at my presentation of it. That is just wrong. I should be satisfied that Jesus was preached (as in we are sinners and need a way out of our sinful condition so we can actually begin a relationship with God … all of that is done through Jesus who took our place for the penalty of sin … if we believe that, we can begin that relationship). I had thought I got beyond the “Randy is a good preacher” phase … but I guess not. I would honestly be ok (at this moment) if I never receive a compliment again. The only comments I really want to hear are “wow … I saw Jesus” or “That’s what God is?” or even “I want Jesus”.
I do recognize that to honor Jesus more with my skills, I do need to put some time into my “Craft” of preaching. I don’t want to just stand up and say “Jesus”. I need to develop a reason for him … sometimes just simply showing what He did so others can develop a love or appreciation for Him. But I don’t want the focus of my preaching to be about me. Nor do I want the focus of what I preach to be about whatever people want to hear – like popular topics, or how we should feel good about ourselves, or certain theology. All preaching should be focused on Jesus.
Enough from me … what about you?
Here I sit again … after a long and exhausting week wondering “what have I done?”.
I am much too involved. What hit home recently was my youngest who walked in the door from somewhere saying something like “Woah … Dad’s not on the computer!” My kids apparently think I am addicted and … well … maybe I am. I didn’t start out thinking “hmm … I will spend 2-3 hours a day as I watch tv getting on the internet and social interacting/surfing/etc.” I didn’t sign up for this! Well, I did, I logged on to an account on facebook.com and twitter.com and who knows what else, so I guess I did sign up.
I have a dream, but am I really working towards it? Am I doing the things necessary to help build toward what I believe God is nudging me to do? I don’t think so.
Instead … I have excuses.
“I am working too many hours!”
“No one else will do it” (or worse) “no one else will do it as good as me”
“I need to veg”
Whatever they are, they are still just excuses.
Starting this week I will be limiting the time I am online. I also will attempt to turn the tv off unless I actually want to watch it, not as filler for my surfing. What will I be filling it with? Spending time connecting more closely to God, Mer and the girls. If there is time left, I will begin working at my dream again.
I also will be praying about what ministry to give up (currently involved with leading the Men’s Ministry, Starting a Young Adult Ministry, general leader at church and podcast for Rethinkmonthly.com. They are all needs right now … but like I mentioned in the leadership meeting today, “Do I really need to meet the need?”. Last time I checked, I don’t have an “S” on my chest nor a crown on my head. I have limitations. And I currently have no boundaries – or at least if someone were to bump into me, my life would just spill over the edge and make a mess on someone!
Thank God I have hope. Hope that this life is NOT all there is … that there is MORE to it. Jesus has changed my life and most likely I would be thoroughly distraught, but I know He still has a plan for me and I am going to step back towards it. It will involve my wife and my kids. I am looking forward to something different.
How do you choose your priorities?
We did it! MAN CAMP 2007 is over. Now on to the lingering effects of a good time.
It felt good to be used by God to prepare an event that brought a bunch of men together. We had lots of rain and a few forgotten items (my bad!) But not one of the guys complained. God provided the good weather at the right times, and the bad weather at the right times. The bad weather forced us to meet together under tarps and in tents. The good weather allowed us to play and enjoy the things He has provided.
From this, I had hoped that many of the guys (at least 10 of them) would connect regularly outside of Sundays. At last count in my head, I think there is over 10!
Thank you Lord.
Please give me wisdom to lead the men to You.
It is the night before MAN CAMP.
How am I feeling? I have to admit, a little stressed. I am not a detail kind of guy, and for this, I was really trying to be “big picture” and hope the details fall in place, they didn’t … those little things took their own sweet time. Oh well, that is the life of doing ministry. I love it, though I dislike these parts.
We have 25 guys now going to the camp. It is funny because there are a few that I can tell are leary of carpooling with others, but when refelcting on it a little bit, it is because they don’t really know each other … yet another good reason to go the camp!
We are pretty much maxed out for sleeping arrangements, and if it rains, I just pray the tents will hold well. Also if it rains, there is no back up plan. So I am hoping the same weather that God gives us on a lot of our outdoor church activities, will still be true with this event.
Strengthening the grip is the theme and I am trying to focus specifically on getting others to see our need to strengthen our grip with each other, so that we can strengthen our grip with God.
Those watching … pray for no rain, good connections and decent teaching.
As I have been trying to figure out my place in the church, I get haunted from the ghosts of my past. These are my ghosts … ghosts I let float around in the corners of my mind and life.
One of the pastors at church this morning stated to me that “sounds like you haven’t put the past behind you . . .”
It reminded me of what another pastor friend told me a long time ago, before entering into the paid ministry. At the time I didn’t think I was cut out for it because I looked at my past and evaluated it against the one who led me to Christ (Craig) and thought, “there is no way I stack up.” My friend then asked me, “do you believe Jesus forgave ALL your sins?” … I thought, and thought … and thought, then recognized how I hadn’t let my past go. Jesus did cleanse me, redeem me and redirect my eternity. That was the same week I responded to God’s call on my life to lead people in the capacity of being a pastor and then experienced some of the best years of my life in ministry.
I find my self in a similar position as I had been in before. I am no longer in the ministry in the capacity I had been in before. I have no title, no set hours, no huge continuous responsibilities. I have desired to get back into ministry (though no clue as to if that will be full time right now). But I know I have valuable things that God has allowed me to experience that would help others. At our church now I have had the privelege of being able to speak to men, help my wife teach the children, speak at a youth retreat, and preach a couple of times at our church … but no specific ministry outside the family.
My hesitation in moving towards a ministry arena is that others would look at me as trying to gain a position that I shouldn’t have because of my past (my ghost). It’s not that I am looking for a title or “fame”, but to be plugged into one specific area of the body would be very nice. At times, I felt like my part in the body was an ice pack … one that has some sort of reason, but never in one place long enough to determine what it’s function is. It is also not that others are looking at me that way. I have not had one person speak any negative thing to me regarding ministry or pursuit of ministry.
I think I have been waiting for the “writing on the wall” or for the coach to call me up to the game … but really, even though the church leadership should be seeking leaders, I still need to make a step forward by letting it be known I want to be used and to share in what capacity. A couple of scriptures pop up in my head about it being ok to desire leadership … as well as those that teach will be judged more strictly.
In recent posts you can see that I have been teetering on the idea of challenging men, but specifically training leaders. An obvious arena would be that of men’s ministry. At this moment in our church it is non-existent.
I am ready for the task. I am a leader, I should be leading. God help me to be bold and humble like your Son. Jesus take the ghosts from me and fill me up with your Ghost.