Sunday, May 17, 2009

Monday Morning Leadership Devo

Licensed to Lead

I had the opportunity last week to license to the ministry one of our young men. Landon Riley is a godly young champion for Christ. He feels a distinct call to full-time vocational ministry and is currently doing all the right things to prepare for and live out that call. He is a student at Oklahoma Baptist University and will be spending the summer in the Houston, Texas area as a junior high intern, getting practical, on-the-ground experience.

A license to ministry is a first step toward eventual ordination to the ministry. By licensing Landon to the ministry, we, as a church, are saying that we recognize his call, believe in him, and are supporting him and encouraging him to move forward and to begin “practicing” ministry as he has the opportunity. At some point in the future, after Landon has a record of ministry to support his calling, we will then ordain him. Yes, these are human processes, but the process is designed to engage the church in Landon’s life and to provide a base of credibility and support for him as he moves into the ministry. It’s a win-win for all of us.

And so we found ourselves the other night at this “formal” licensing service. Landon shared the testimony of his call, and I then issued a challenge to him directly. While my words were meant for Landon, they were also meant for the encouragement of the church as a whole. To be a minister of the gospel is to be in an important and critical role of leadership in people’s lives. I wanted to capture this idea for Landon and provide for him some key points to always return to as he moves forward into ministry.

And so I thought I would share these same thoughts with you today by way of a devotional.

  • Keep your focus on Jesus. Don’t become so focused on ministry that you forget who it’s all about.

  • Love the Church. The Church is people, and this can be hard to do at times, but loving people is the essence of ministry.

  • Uphold the Bible as God’s inerrant, infallible Word. Study it, learn to preach it / teach it. It is amazing that some of those who carry the title today of “clergy” deny the truth of God’s Word. The Bible IS the standard of all Truth and this can never be forgotten.

  • Get the best preparation you can (education). Degrees are like keys on a key chain – the more you have, the more doors you can open. God forbid that there be some door you want to walk through one day but don’t have the key to open. At this point your ability to minister and lead is limited.

  • Be a lifelong learner. Read, read, read. NEVER believe that you’ve learned it all.

  • Marry a woman called to be the wife of a pastor. Who a minister marries will determine the level of ministry effectiveness he will have. Yes, God calls women to be pastor’s wives just as He calls pastors.

  • Be sensitive to other people. Of the previous generation(s) and of the next generation. This balance is extremely difficult but necessary.

  • Be willing to go anywhere God wants you to go.

  • Be willing to do anything God wants you to do.

  • Teach your children to love Jesus and love the Church. Family first, ministry second. Don’t let your children hate God and the church because they stole Daddy from them.

Passage for Reflection: Ezra 7:10

As a gift verse, I gave this bit of Scripture to Landon. Take time to read it and pay particular attention to the word “heart.”

“Lord, may I understand that all Christians are called to minister. Amen.”


1 comment:

Dozer said...

Thank you Jeff. You do not know how timely it is to have read this today. I know for my life this is one of those, 'Thus says the Lord' messages. It is somewhat surreal that time flies as it does and, it's been a few years since I left Grand Avenue Baptist for reasons that had little to do with the church. It was how God was shepherding me.

I have felt a call to ministry since I was a kid. I've had atta boy hand shakes and encouraging pats on the back from my former shepherds/pastors, Adrian Rogers and Ronnie Floyd. A Southern Baptist from the cradle up til a few years ago I never would of imagined that at age 41, with grandchildren, tomorrow morning I would be meeting with the District Superintendent (right next door to GABC by strange conincidence) taking my first steps into the "formal" licensing process to become a Pastor in the METHODIST CHURCH. When it's God doing it, it's just right. Never in my life, have the pieces ever "fit" together so nicely in His perfect timing as it is today. Your blog post is even more confirmation to my spirit that, This is the way, walk in it.

With enduring love in Christ

P.S.: By the way...Methodists aren't as afraid of the water as I was once led to believe. Laff