Tag Archive: ministers

The Example of Ministers (“Don’t be this me”)

Are you willing to embrace the reality that your title makes you a role-model?

When church members watch your life, are you a good example only in theory – or are you living a life that’s reflective of Biblical teaching?


As ministers, we should be an example when it comes to spiritual matters and disciplines. At stake is both our personal discipleship and our modeling it to church members.

The Bible sets clear expectations for the church’s leaders. (For one example, see I Timothy 3.)

This is ultimately a matter between you, God, and the church you serve. But I’ve listed some things I feel are non-negotiables for those in a ministry role at a church (and arguably, for every Christian in some way).


Baseline expectations for Ministers

Devoted time with God each day

This can be very subjective, so in my church setting, we define this further as “substantive and systematic time God.” We don’t go a lot further in delineating formulas of time, place, or reading requirements, but we want our ministers to systematically spend substantive time with God.

Substantive time will allow them to lead and minister from the overflow of their own time with God. Sentence-long prayers or reading one page from their favorite devotional isn’t enough. As ministers, we have a great privilege of service Christ and others, and our pursuit of Christ should be a matter of great intentionality.

Service outside your role

Most churches (and their ministers) ask people to step up and serve amongst the church body. Most of the people we ask have hectic, family and work-filled lives. Should we ask something of them we aren’t also willing to do? Ministry without pay is good for your soul, and it also models what committed discipleship looks like.

What are you doing for your own church (or the larger Kingdom of God) that’s not in your job description?

Involvement in group life

Whatever your terminology, you need to be in consistent community with other believers who are studying God’s word. There’s a lot of ways to do this, but the church is built on the idea of believers in community studying the Bible.

Although it can be hard for a minister to find an appropriate time for biblical community (sometimes it’s an issue of fit or trust, and sometimes, your role’s responsibilities don’t allow for it), we’ve got to be in community.

Financial Giving

As ministers and leaders at our churches, we should believe in the vision God has given of our church. Our belief should lead to commitment, which means participation in funding that vision. God’s plan for financing His church is simple economics. It’s called tithing.

Although I’ve heard people argue against it, I’ve never been convinced that ministers should get a pass on giving to the church. Rather, I think we should take the lead in giving generously. No matter your circumstances, financial stewardship is related to personal discipleship.

Does your giving to the church reflect your trust in God? If the members of your church knew how you gave financially, would your giving show faithfulness and commitment to God and your church?

Sharing Christ with others

Many ministers like to delegate “sharing Christ” to our church members who are “out there amongst the non-believers in the real world” (as opposed to working in a church building where most, if not all employees are Christians). As ministers, we’re only called to equip the saints, not find them… right?

Our title doesn’t relegate us to simply managing the results of other people sharing Christ. We should be engaged ourselves. I’ve heard the arguments for ministers not being great at this because of our positions (mainly because I’ve argued them), but our job can’t be an excuse.

As ministers, it takes an extra effort to rub shoulders with those who don’t share our faith. (I’ve blogged before how one such effort led to me playing softball with Hooters’ employees.) The extra effort is not only good modeling for other church members, but the stakes are eternal.


Confession: I’m not perfect when measured against what I consider these baseline expectations. At the same time, I don’t consider them aspirational. Rather, these are areas I should always be striving  to excel in.

Again, this is first a personal discipleship issue. But secondly, we’ll have a hard time effectively “equipping the saints” if the saints look at us and know we’re all talk. Don’t be a theoretical example.

DIRECTV has a series of commercials where famous people (this one includes NFL player Tony Romo) are shown as they are, and then show some lesser (usually humorous) version of themselves. Each commercial ends with the famous person saying, “Don’t be this me.”

Let’s agree together to avoid having to say to our churches’ members, “Don’t be this me.”


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Why Ministers Don't Pray Well


Photo courtesy of iStockphoto®

The church I attended in college had a 24/7 prayer ministry. Hourly, four volunteers crammed into a small room with four cubicles and were available by phone to pray with anyone who called in.

I felt I should be a part of this. The only consistent time on a weekly basis for my one-hour slot was Thursday at 7:00 a.m. While this doesn’t sound terribly early now, it was to a college student.

Many times, I remember flying out of my chair when the phone in my cubicle would ring. While I was supposed to be praying though a list of needs, I would doze off and the sound of a phone four inches from your ear is quite startling. I could sleep during “prayer time” without causing much suspicion, but I could never effectively cover springing out of my chair to my “prayer partners” in the room.

At that life-stage, I was overwhelmed by a need for sleep. Now as a minister, I’m overwhelmed with the amount of matters to pray for on a consistent basis.

This feeling isn’t exclusive to ministers. No one can pray for everything that deserves attention. But a minister’s role has some unique pressures to pray comprehensively and well (my working definition of well: in the moment; not haphazardly; pleasing to God).

When I’ve become overwhelmed with prayer needs, I sometimes don’t pray at all. Or if I do, it lacks focus. In my frustration of feeling inadequate, a worse thing happens. Not only am I not interceding for others, but I miss my time in conversation with God altogether.

Recently I came up with a way to order my prayer life so I’d avoid being overwhelmed. My prayer life changes in seasons of my life, but this is serving my prayer life well now. I pray in buckets.

For each day of the week, I’ve drawn a bucket in my journal. In pencil, I write in each bucket some areas of intercession. I spread out the major areas of intercession into one of the seven buckets:

•             My wife and each of my children have a day.

•             Each of the ministry departments I help to oversee have a day. For each department, I pray for the staff in that department and unique items they may be dealing with.

•             Each day has a different pastor that’s important to me.

•             Ultimately, each day’s bucket has 4-6 topics (aforementioned groups, extended family members, those with illness, job loss, specific people I know who need Christ).

My bucket-praying assumes a few things:

1.            I’m confessing and expressing gratefulness to God as a part of every day’s prayer time.

2.            I’m not limited by buckets. I must remain obedient to whatever the Spirit brings to my mind or crisis that are time specific and not listed in a bucket.

3.            I’m engaging “whisper” prayer moments throughout the day when prompted.

If you’re overwhelmed in prayer, whether bucket-praying or not, I encourage you to find some solution to effective and consistent prayer.

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