Some pastors do not enjoy their ministries. This usually happens when they’re running maintenance ministries rather than purpose-driven ministries. Maintenance ministry solely focuses on church activities, such as worship services, prayer meetings, Bible studies, visitations, and church administration, without having a clear overall purpose.
Maintenance ministry is hard; as hard as trying to keep balance on a bicycle without pedaling. If you try hard enough, you might avoid falling for a while, but if you lose your concentration, you will immediately tip over. But if you start pedaling and moving forward, you don’t need to worry about falling. Likewise, if a pastor has a clear objective and runs his ministry to achieve that goal, ministry becomes easy and meaningful.
This principle also applies to lay leaders, especially shepherds. House church ministry can be fun when you set a goal for the house church to reach non-believers and make them disciples of Jesus Christ. But if their goal is simply to take care of house church members, ministry can be draining and house church meetings boring. You may have already noticed that when house church meetings include non-believers and new believers, the time is lively, but when there are only members who have been Christians for a long time, it’s usually much less lively, even boring.
New shepherds cannot help but do maintenance ministry because they have to begin by establishing themselves as leaders. They need to focus on getting to know existing members and growing in friendship with them. But they should not stay at this stage for too long. They must make existing house church members partners in outreach and focus on non-believers. If their interest is on how many members come to house church meetings and activities to meet their needs, ministry becomes more and more difficult. Their ministry’s purpose is to meet members’ needs and make them happy. But members are so fickle! There is no way to please them all the time.
If you continue to do this, you start on a downward spiral: shepherds don’t enjoy their ministries, house church meetings lose their vitality, members start missing meetings, and shepherds’ disappointment deepens. This is the price we pay when we lose the very purpose for which our Lord built His church.
Happiness is a reward God bestows on those who obey Him. This rule applies both individually and corporately. When churches lose sight of the purpose of the Church – reaching the unsaved and making them disciples – they lose their happiness. When they do what they were called to do, they experience happiness.
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