Our Church has taken on the initiative to have everyone complete a membership class. The course teaches about the fundamental doctrines of the faith and explains the importance of Church membership. One part of membership is serving the Lord through a local body of believers. So after the class is over, I meet with each person to ask about their salvation and answer any questions. Then my wife meets with everyone to talk about participation.
Through the years my wife and I have noticed that there are two ways people approach ministry.
First – many people come with an “I have an idea for you” mentality. The words flow fast and easy, “Our church should have …” It might also sound like, “Pastor I have an idea for you.” Numerous times I hear about great ministries that “someone” should start and lead.
These people have no real desire to start these ministries. They rarely even want to participate in them. They are just individuals who want someone to do something.
This is what I have learned through the years. When I start these ministries, they usually fail. Some of the ideas are genuinely good ones. They make sense and would help our Church. I get a little excited and try to throw things together and make it work. Those that work are the exception. No one has a passion for this ministry. They approach it as a job and lack the enthusiasm to help it thrive.
Second – some people come with an “I have an idea I would like to start” mentality. It is common for this group to be so excited about their idea that they have not through all the details. They see a need and want to meet it. They have little regard for budgets or guidelines. God has laid something on their heart, and they are sure it can work.
What I have noticed is that quite often these ministries take off and thrive. The enthusiasm is infectious. The details are covered by blood, sweat, and tears. They accept responsibility and make it work by overcoming any obstacle. If someone has a passion for doing something for God, there is nothing that can stop them.
Interestingly enough, if the person who started that ministry is called away from the Church for a job or another reason, the ministry begins to fail. People live on memories of past success and have little passion for the present or future. Great and life-giving ministries struggle and fail because the individual who brought it to life is gone.
I would bet that through the years some of your favorite ministries have died and you felt sad. Some people tried to make it work, but it just didn’t happen. The simple reason was the leader and visionary was gone. Everyone who followed was just filling a position and did not have the heart for its success.
Great ministry happens when God’s people follow his leading and serve with their unique dream and gift. If God has laid something on your heart, then it is your responsibility to help bring it to life.
One day it will die. That does not mean it failed; it only means God has a new dream on the rise for a new follower to help make happen.
And so goes the cycle of ministry.