Thursday, March 31, 2011

Ministry Notes: The Prophet

When I think of prophets, I think of Jonah. Jonah was a slow learner... which reminds me of myself and I think that's why he sticks out to me so much. God wanted him to travel to Nenivah in order to motivate change in the hearts of the people there. As kids we learn that Nenivites were mean and Jonah was scared, but it was really so much more than that. Nenivites were cruel... they did things that make interrogators in the Republican Guard look like saints. The truth was that Jonah wasn't scared of them- he hated them. He didn't want them to be saved. They didn't deserve God's grace.

Just as Jonah was a prophet, ministers are to be prophets. We are to proclaim that Jesus will return to take the believers with him to Heaven. We can't have the heart that Jonah had. We must want everyone to receive God's grace. In a land of "justice for all" it's often easy to forget about God's grace. Ultimately when my life is over I don't want justice- I want grace. God's grace will cover a multitude of sin and we must remember that as we minister to others.

Ministers must be prophets who go to everyone- good and bad- to tell them the story of Jesus and of his soon return.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Ministry Notes: The Evangelist

Many people are well aware of the great commission Jesus gave in Matthew 28:19-20:

"Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. And I'll be with you until the end of the age".

This commission is extended to everyone. It's one of the definitions of an evangelist.

One of the jobs for ministers is to evangelize to others. Even more importantly though, they should prepare the members of their congregation to evangelize to others. Ministers should provide opportunities for them to learn, train, and act out evangelizing.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Ministry Notes: The Teacher

My first thought when I saw that I was supposed to write about teaching was, "isn't that the same as preaching". I gave it some thought and realized that teaching and preaching are completely different. Preaching is attempting to convict. In order for one to be teaching, someone must be learning. Teaching is a very applicable subject for ministers of all ministries.

I've sat through many many many classes where I feel as though I learned nothing. Sure, High School Chemistry and French II are the first that pop into my mind, but I also can think of many Sunday School classes where I felt the same way. Some of this might have been due to my issues with concentrating and feeling motivated, but there will be people like me in every class. To teach is to go beyond the obstacles of your students and to help them learn something new.

The minister must be able to help people learn. To simply preach is by far not enough for any standard. I think teaching is one of my favorite topics because I love bible class teaching with all my heart, and if I could, I'd be a bible class teacher every day of the week. Teaching is a significant way for ministers to touch the lives of other people and it should most definitely be taken advantage of!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Ministry Notes: The Preacher

The minister as a preacher is a very important role of a minister because a lot of people will view this as the primary role of the minister. The "preacher" role is what is in the spot light more often than most other roles.

There are many different styles of preaching ranging from "way too boring to ever be effective" to "way too loose to convict". One of the most common styles of preaching today are the "feel good" sermons. This is where the sermon is directly aiming for each listener to walk away feeling good about themselves. On the other hand no one one wants to hear a preacher yell at them every week and walk away feeling depressed.

There needs to be a balance in conviction and encouragement. The word of God should never be softened or hardened. The word should always be presented as what it is. Preachers have the opportunity to change the way people's hearts... but they should always remember it's God's word and power that changes hearts.... not the preacher!