Here it is 2009 and I have not blogged in many a day. But with the New Year comes a new set of “try-solutions.” These are things I am going to, at least, try to do in 2009. One of those is to blog more consistently. So here is my first installment.
I recently read the book Tangible Kingdom. It is written by two guys Hugh and Matt. One of them makes this statement: “If there’s one thing I’ve learned as a trainer and consultant, no one trusts you unless you share your wounds….”
This brought to mind the times I teach, train and consult. In these times I seldom share…my ministry history. Not sure all of them would qualify as wounds, but I did learn some stuff.
When I look back on my ministry assignments I realized how much I learned and how what I learned has impacted how I do what I do, why I do what I do and attitudes I carry.
Here are some quick hits on things I learned. Doesn’t cover everything, but who has the time?
· My ministry journey took me to churches outside my Wesleyan tradition. Lutheran, Presbyterian and others. I discovered that there are genuine Kingdom followers who are not Wesleyan. Many could not become Covenant members in my tradition, but we will see them in Heaven and they genuinely love God.
· I interned @ large church called Skyline. I discovered that most real learning happens informally. Pastor Orville Butcher was the Senior Pastor. He was an icon in his denomination. One evening I was standing chatting with one of the Associate Pastors. Pastor Butcher came up and said, “You two looked like you could use some coffee and a donut. We walked across the street to “Yum, Yum” donut shop. In that informal conversation I received some great ministry insight.
· I ministered in a holiness church in the South in the early eighties. I was the youth pastor. In those days, in the South, we could not go to movie theaters. Many of the kids I worked with kept that “guideline,” but rented all kinds of inappropriate videos (this was way before the DVD). I tried to communicate they were missing the point. It seems Holiness in appearance tends to trump holiness in actuality.
· In my first Solo Pastorate I found enthusiasm helps overcome a lack of experience. Good thing! I had an ample amount of both.
· My first Lead Pastor role was at a church I had been an Associate three years prior. Many people say you can’t go home again. I found you can go home again if everyone knows things have changed.
· In my movement we have District Superintendents. These leaders are key players in all that happens. They oversee anywhere between 25 to 100 churches. I served in this role for a very short time. I found out that the denomination expects way too much from one person and those who function in the role are studs.
· I currently work in a denominational setting. I am finding one of the greatest challenges we have is mistaking the structure for the mission. This can be overcome and we are working to make sure we don’t make this mistake, but it is good for me to remind myself of this battle.
What have you learned? At the beginning of something new is an excellent time to review.