Life has become so complicated and there are so many things to do that we simply cannot do everything we need or want to. It is imperative for everyone – whether an individual or an organization – to be selective and do only those things that are important. Everyone’s priorities are different. For a business, a good reputation is important. In ministry, relationships are important. With child rearing, discipline is important. For Christians, regular quiet times are important.
Sometimes, what we think to be important turns out to be not so. When I was in seminary, I thought that grades were important. I worked hard and got good grades. However, after graduating, I found out that churches rarely ask pastoral candidates about their grades. Just graduating from a reputable seminary usually suffices.
It is imperative to focus on the truly important. For a pastor, prayer and preaching are important. So I guard my early dawn prayer time zealously. I don’t make visitations to hospitals when church members are undergoing surgery because surgeries usually start in the morning and I would have to sacrifice my prayer time, which means about 150 people would not receive my intercessory prayers that morning. I also refuse almost all invitations on the weekends, except for weddings and funerals. I want to focus on preparing for Sunday worship services.
What’s the most important thing for local churches? I believe that it is fulfilling the Great Commission (Matt 28:19-20). That’s why the house church ministries are given the greatest priority in our church; they are outposts for reaching out to non-believers. The New Life, our introductory course, is treated as the most important Bible class at church because non-believers come to know the Gospel and accept Jesus through it.
What is the next most important ministry for our church after house churches? Missions? Children’s education? Community service? These ministries are indeed important, but I think the most important ministry after our house churches is the propagation of the house church. At the moment, our church is the leader in this ministry. This may change in the future, but until then, if we neglect this ministry, the house church movement will suffer greatly. This is why I travel frequently even though I hate traveling. This is also why I refuse nearly all invitations to speak except for those that involve the house church. I need to be selective and do only those things that are most important.
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