If I Were Starting My Ministry Again

Over the weekend, one of our EMM leaders gave me this little book called "If I were starting my ministry again."  It is written by a seasoned Mennonite writer and leader named John Drescher. It was so impressed at the way that this man oozes wisdom. In 100 pages, he cranked out proverbial knowledge like water flowing from a hose. He spits tweets as he writes! (I reckon that is an odd way to refer to an older Mennonite man.) ;-)

Here are a some of the statements of great wisdom that I thought were worth sharing:

  • The word that I am trying to impart must first become flesh in me.
  • The flesh still feels that it can through training, education, gifts, hard work, and other personal qualities do a spiritual work. Jesus says we cannot. We will attend seminar after seminar to sharpen our skills but spend little time in solitude in prayer to have God shape our wills.
  • We should be committed to reading God's word each day before we read anything else. And we should be committed to talking with God each day before we talk with anyone else. People that we are ministering to our able to sense if we know Jesus personally and if we came from his presence.
  • Pastors should ask their churches whether they want their feet or their heads. We cannot give you both. If you want my feet to do all the chores and run all the errands and attend all the committees, then you should not expect him to preach sermons or teach the Bible with any depth.
  • There is a major difference between teaching people the effects of the Gospel and teaching the gospel itself.
  • Most of us are too strong for God to use us. As long as we feel that we can do a spiritual or eternal work ourselves the Lord will let us keep trying... but the result will only be human.
  • If you have to be reasoned into Christianity, some wise fellow can reason you out of it!  But when the Holy Spirit brings inner illumination, no one can reason you out of it.
  • I would never wish to be judged by my worst moments, neither should I judge the church or any member by its worst performers.
  • Until congregations allow pastors to spend their time on training the spiritually well minority rather than serving the unmotivated and disobedient majority, people will not live and serve as Christ intends.
  • If my prayer life sags, my whole life sags with it. If my prayer life goes up my life as a whole goes up with it. To fail here is to fail all down the line; to succeed here is to succeed everywhere. Whenever there is a crisis in the church, it is always first a crisis of prayer
  • My work is not to change people. I am to love people and to accept people. It is the Holy Spirit's work to convince, convict, and convert.
  • We can only grow in long-suffering when one tests how long we can suffer; so it is for all the fruit.
  • No one is a sudden moral failure. Lust, like bitterness, is allowed to lodge in the heart and mind over time.
  • We must never get off the train when we are going through the tunnel. There are plenty of discouragements in ministry, but it is not good to make a major decision during a time of discouragement.
  • We must beware of letting complements build self-confidence in spiritual things. The compliments of others can be used for evil if we are not determined to give all glory to God. The more gifted the leader, the greater the temptation and thirst for praise.
  • Our insistence in proving that we are right is nearly always an indication that there has been some point of disobedience.
  • Do not take the adverse reaction of one person too seriously without checking such criticism with other trusted leaders who can advise with candor and love. I have suffered most in ministry for believing broad, sweeping criticism from one person who claim to be speaking for many, only to discover it was a very personal reaction, backed only by some personal prejudice or agenda, and not the opinion of others at all.
  • I would avoid envy like the plague. Envy is to feel sad when another is glad. It raises its ugly head when someone succeeds in the area I work or in the area I seek to be successful.
  • Pride and self-conceit is the sin we are most conscious of in others and which we are most blind to in ourselves.

I hope you enjoyed some of this depth as much as I did. I think you can but it HERE.