Final Days of Preparation
I’m in the process of putting the finishing touches on the development of our new Cross Church School of Ministry. The last six months have been all about building academic partnerships, developing a presence on the web, spreading the word far and wide through church leadership circles that a new (and different) kid is on the block, building physical space, securing housing, purchasing furniture, RECRUITING, and the list goes on and on. Life has been BUSY.
Part of the processes of building this School of Ministry has been the pulling together of the best of the best of ministry theory and practices. We’ve got just ONE YEAR to pour into a group of next generation church leaders. So what do we want to say to them in that one year? I’ve got over 20 years of ministry experience and the staff team of Cross Church combined has literally hundreds of years of experience. The challenge is to boil down all that we know and pass it on in 12 short months.
This exercise is healthy. It forces me to think clearly and concisely about ministry, leadership, life, and the mission of God. So as we are closing in on a framework of all we will do with this first cohort of men coming to us, several thoughts have come to the front of my mind that I think all those called of God can glean from…
- There is a LOT of “noise” out there as it relates to ministry. Podcasts, blogs, Twitter, Facebook, etc. More than ever, more people are talking about ministry – how to do it and how to do it well. Even THIS post is adding to the “noise!” It’s great to have so much content but the downside is wading out the useless to focus on the essential.
- There are bad books, okay books, good books, great books, and classics. I love books. I’ve got books that fit into all the mentioned categories in my library. I tend to go through my library once every couple of years to re-evaluate and jettison the junk. When focusing on our School of Ministry we wanted to put into the hands (and libraries) of our students the best of the best. This means just the great books (some of which will one day be classics) and the established classics.
- Why men and women fail in ministry is as important as to why they succeed. I recently ran across a statistic that stunned me: Half of all men and women who go into the ministry will drop out in the first five years. When you consider the investment in dollars, time, energy, etc. that goes into preparing one for ministry, this is simply unacceptable. We must do better.
- Every new generation of leaders is a new opportunity to get discipleship right. Making disciples. Isn’t that what Jesus said we are to be about? So much of the “noise” I have mentioned relates to information on how to make disciples. There are reams of material on making disciples. It’s almost as if disciple-making is some moving target that we have yet to hit. But I can’t help but think that what Jesus had in mind was so much more simple and organic. Thus our Cross Church School of Ministry becomes an exercise in discipleship. Called people, eating, studying, ministering, and living together for a year = POWERFUL.
- Losing sight of Jesus is easy. It’s amazing how much of the ministry noise has nothing to do with Jesus or following him. So the noise now becomes a distraction. The most important word for anyone called into the ministry is this: at every moment, of every day, of every year, for your whole life, get as close to Jesus as you can…and stay there.