20/20 Twenty Ministry Lessons Part 4

imprrh@gmail.com —  July 12, 2014
I am so grateful you are reading this blog, as we conclude our four part series.

1. Comparison is deadly.

Pastors are often caught in this trap. Comparison gets you nowhere. For starters, there will always be someone who is a better preacher, who has better kids, a stronger marriage (at least from the outside) superior preaching skills or a more desirable church. Secondly, comparison puts you in one of two destructive camps:

*You feel superior, which is pride=destructive.

*You feel inferior, which makes you bitter=destructive.

God has called us to love, and you can’t really love someone who you privately wish would fail. Instead of comparing yourself and lamenting your shortcomings, celebrate others blessings.

2. Change is hard, painful and necessary.

I often hear pastors lamenting the fact that “my church won’t change” or “I can’t change anything at my church”. My question is: what are you there for? Lead! We don’t want to be reckless with change, we must change in order to grow. Here are three quotes I found helpful:

“Almost every advance in art, cooking, medicine, agriculture, engineering, marketing, politics, education, and design has occurred when someone challenged the rules and tried another approach.” Maxwell, John C. (2012-10-02). The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth: Live Them and Reach Your Potential (p. 202).

“Your skepticism, which you presume is based on rational thinking and an objective assessment of factual data about yourself, is rooted in mental junk. Your doubts are not the product of accurate thinking, but habitual thinking. Years ago you accepted flawed conclusions as correct, began to live your life as if those warped ideas about your potential were true, and ceased the bold experiment in living that brought you many breakthrough behaviors as a child. Now it’s time for you to find that faith you had in yourself before.” Maxwell, John C. (2012-10-02). The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth: Live Them and Reach Your Potential (p. 230).

“I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order to learn how to do it.” —Pablo Picasso




3. Christ the center.

I heard it when I was a local church pastor. I hear it often still today. It’s expressed by a group of people, that although well intentioned, one has to wonder if they have stopped to think about the implications of their statement. The rational goes like this.

Jesus is best left to the Baptists. We must preach present truth.

Jesus is milk. Prophecy is meat.

Jesus is elementary. Prophecy is deep.

Jesus is basic. There is something more advanced.

Jesus is an opening act. The headliner comes later.

Jesus is an appetizer. An introduction. A prelude.

You can go anywhere to hear about Jesus. You can only hear about prophecy here.

There is an attempt to divorce Jesus from prophecy, and extract and separate doctrine from our Christology. That is a mistake.

And I wonder. Where did we get that from? Where did we arrive at a conclusion that there is anything superior, deeper, or more important than Jesus?

It wasn’t from Ellen White.

“Of all professed Christians, Seventh-day Adventists should be foremost in uplifting CHRIST before the world.” Ellen G. White, Gospel workers, p.156

“There need to be far more lessons in the ministry of the Word of true conversion than of the arguments of the doctrines. For it is far easier and more natural for the heart that is not under the control of the Spirit of Christ to choose doctrinal subjects rather than the practical. There are many Christ-less discourses given no more acceptable to God than was the offering of Cain. They are not in harmony with God.”{VSS – The Voice in Speech and Song pg 342.3}

Truth is that in some churches, Jesus is like the national anthem, sung at the beginning and not thought of much afterwards. Church without Jesus is like a coronation without king.

Emphasizing Christ does not mean we stay away from the tough subjects, from encouraging our congregation to holy living or to just tell everyone they are OK. What is does mean, is that Jesus is center of everything we do. This is specifically important when we preach. I often say when teaching my preaching class that preaching emphasis on sin produces sinners. Preaching emphasis on Christ produces Christians.

4. Take care of your family. Now.

You don’t do ministry with your family. Your family IS your ministry.

Let me know your thoughts!


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2 responses to 20/20 Twenty Ministry Lessons Part 4

  1. I just wanted to say I look forward to your blog week in and we out. It is like fresh, clear air in the sometimes fog/smog of ministry.

    I am so blessed to have mentors, be it through blogs, books or personal relationship, that help me become the pastor God has called me to be.

    This 20/20 blog has help me see things more clearly and left me also wanting to dust off my copy 21 Laws.

    I pray for your ministry often.