Vision-Casting for Your Ministry- Pt 1

It’s that time of year again….
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You know the time of year when you put on your rose colored glasses and look bright-eyed into the future…

The time of year when you take a serious look at all that you are discontent with, and, with hope rather than our usual resignation look forward to a better you…

A skinnier you.
A healthier you.
A wealthier you.
A more deeply in-tuned to the Spirit you.

At this time of year you can google “New Year’s Resolutions” and literally get 135,000,000 results.  I’m actually working through Donald Miller’s Storyline this year and loving it so far.  The thought is to use a story to create a narrative that compels you to reach your goals and there is a an awesome online resource that can help you through that- you can go start your own storyline or simply root me on as I write my story here.

And guess what? Your ministry needs a fresh vision every year.  Not resolutions that will get shelved by Valentine’s Day and not a re-branding that confuses all the folks that follow and support you, but a fresh look at the plan God is working through you.  You need a strategic plan just like any other business.

For me, this starts with a question my friend and mentor asked me a couple of years ago.

“What is your philosophy of ministry?”

Your theology determines your philosophy, which THEN determines your methodology.

So your philosophy of ministry then is the attitude that acts as the guiding principle for your ministry.In Christian terminology, we’ll call that your ‘calling’.  What is your ministry called to do?

This question is such a vital part of planning your strategy for, well, anything- events, engagements, blog posts, books…whatever it is you are doing- this question should be the VERY first step.

A philosophy of ministry isn’t a one-line mission statement, although it is what shapes and forms that statement.  Philosophy of ministry is a well-thought out framework that becomes the filter through which you filter everything you decide to do.  It’s an amazing resource when the calendar begins to fill up and distractions start flying at you.  And while it requires some thought and prayer and a little bit of elbow grease, it is well worth the work and thought.  In the coming weeks, I will post my own philosophy of ministry as we talk through this subject of vision-casting for your ministry.  But until then, maybe you would like to start on yours?  The guys at the Resurgence have a great free resource that will walk you through it.  Over the next month, we will be working through the development of a strategic plan for your ministry- starting with the writing of your philosophy of ministry.

So let’s travel the journey together, shall we?

Reflections on Work from Eugene Peterson

One of the books I am currently reading is called Leap Over a Wall: Earthy Spirituality for Everyday Christians.  It’s a great book written by Eugene Peterson (he wrote the Message translation of the Bible.) This book, a collection of reflective stories on the life of David is rocking my world right now.  This morning’s reading was on work…the spirituality of our everyday work.  I so needed to be reminded that there is no separation in God’s eyes between my ministry and my job. I have for the past several months been telling folks that Strings Attached is my called ministry, my job at Home Instead is what I do to help pay the bills. A client of Home Instead I was visiting with a couple of weeks ago reminded me that my work there was also in line with my ministry– developing relationships to strengthen the kingdom.  Then this reading came along and it all clicked for me.  I can’t include all the wonder in this chapter, I encourage you to pick up a copy and read it.

Eugene says:

Twenty-five years later, as a pastor,, I found myself dealing with men and women who didn’t know how to act in the place of worship.  When they entered the sanctuary, they left at least fifty percent of their vocabulary outside. They talked differently. They stiffened, ever so slightly. Not all of them, true, but enough to let me know that I had my work cut out for me, the work of speaking the word of God to them in the language of their working lives. For how were they going to hear and understand the gospel of Jesus Christ if they heard it only in “church language”? How were they ever going to get a feel for the Bethlehem manger, the Galilean fishing boats, Peter’s curses, and Mary’s tears, to say nothing of the Golgotha cross, if they got it only behind stained glass to organ accompaniment? And how were they ever going to realize that the adrenaline rush following Tuesday’s business deal, the nausea of spousal betrayal on Wednesday, and the interminable boredom of Friday afternoon were the actual stuff in which Christ was working their salvation if they supposed that the primary place for hearing and understanding God’s word was the sanctuary? The sanctuary is essential, but it isn’t the primary location for the day-by-day cultivation and practice of spirituality, the Holy Spirit shaping the Christ-life in us.

I’m still engaged in that work, saying and showing–insisting!–that the world of work is the primary context for spirituality–for experiencing God, for obeying Jesus, for receiving the Spirit…

Work derives from and represents the sovereign God, who expresses his sovereignty as a worker: kingwork. Sovereigns work to bring order out of chaos; guard and fight for the sanctity of people and things; deliver victims from injustice and misfortune and wretchedness; grant pardon to the condemned and the damned; heal sickness; by their very presence bring dignity and honor to people and land. God’s sovereignty isn’t abstract–it’s a working sovereignty and is expressed in work. All of our work is intended as an extension of and participation in that sovereignty.

Did you get that last part?

All of our work is intended as an extension of and participation in that sovereignty.

Yeah, I am certain Eugene wrote that just for me today….did he write it for you, too?