5 years ago Rick started praying for 50 young emerging pastors that he believed were going to make the big difference in the kingdom in years to come. Since then, almost half of them have either flamed out or burned out. So, how do we last in ministry?
1. ENJOY THE GRACE OF GOD.
- Driven-ness comes from a lack of understanding or experiencing God’s grace. Some people have preached the grace of God their whole lives and never experienced it or felt it. You need to enjoy Gods’ grace.
- Never confuse prominence with significance. You may never have a church of 1,000 people or you may never be on the cover of Christianity Today – but don’t confuse your significance with prominence.
- If you don’t settle this issue…you will not last!
- Ministry is received, it is not achieved. God gives it to us as a gift. We are valuable and God loves us. God likes you! He really likes you!
- I used to go into my kids room and just watch them sleep. I loved them no matter how good or bad they were. I loved them because they are my kids! I helped create them.
2. BE AUTHENTIC.
- Obvious imperfections in the pastor can be a very good thing. It tells people that they can be used by God. People will think, “if God can use Rick, God can use me.”
- When you live with authenticity it gets better every year; when you don’t it gets worse every year.
- You can fake love for a few years…but not for long.
3. REMEMBER IT IS NOT ABOUT YOU.
- When you start to think it’s about you – you get either bitter or prideful.
- The average pastor leaves the church because of seven critics. That’s too bad. On the other hand if the pastor stays, the critics leave.
- II Corinthians 4:5 – “we are your servants.”
- Lots of guys start out as servants and become stars.
- Paul says, “I do it for Jesus sake” II Corinthians 4:5 (NIV)
- People always want the success without the suffering.
- Stop comparing yourself to others.
- If you are going to have a Christ-like ministry, you will be criticized. The religious leaders were the one’s that criticized him. Why? For being associated with “bad people”. Jesus was called “the friend of a sinner.”
- You can be a friend of someone without buying into all that they believe.
- If you have no friends who are unbelievers or disreputable – you are not Christ-like.
- Ignore your critics and remember who you are trying to impress.
4. ACCEPT YOUR HUMAN LIMITATIONS
- You are not a superstar…you are human.
- know your limits and know your warning signs.
- Phases of how I dealt with my weaknesses:
- 1st – I denied my weaknesses
- 2nd – I hid my weaknesses.
- 3rd – I accepted my weaknesses.
- Now – I glory in my weaknesses.
- When God makes a mushroom it takes 6 hours; when God wants to grow an oak tree it takes him 60 years. And it will take time for God to build a church.
- While God is growing a church he is also growing you!
5. DO EVERYTHING OUT OF LOVE.
- Where do you start? How about with your wife. Love your wife. “Guys, listen to your wife…she is the Holy Spirit.”
- The people are not there for your benefit; you are there for their benefit.
- It takes unselfish church to grow. The church that doesn’t want to grow is saying to the rest of the world, “Go to Hell!”
- Every church caters to somebody – who are you catering to?
6. MAKE TIME FOR DAILY RENEWAL
- Formula for renewal: divert daily, withdraw weekly, abandon annually.
- If you work with your mind – use your hands to de-stress.
- Daily renewal – take a day off every week. What is your sabbath. If you are not taking a day off every week you are breaking one of the 10 commandments.
- II Corinthians 4:16 – “we are being renewed day by day”.
- Got to have two things for renewal:
- Plan – what is your plan for personal renewal?
- Partner – who is it that will hold you accountable?
- Don’t wait for someone to build a group who will partner with you. Do it yourself.
- Ecclesiastes 4:12
7. LIVE IN LIGHT OF ETERNITY
- “Fatigue makes a coward of us all” – Vince Lombardi
- 3 motivation
- internal motivation
- external motivation
- eternal motivation
- Only he who sees the invisible can achieve the impossible.
- “You don’t determine a man’s greatness by his count or by his wealth – you determine his greatness by what it takes to discourage him.”
- Great people are just ordinary people who won’t give up.
DON’T GIVE UP. DON’T GIVE UP. DON’T GIVE UP.