Hi. I bet if you're like me, you have obstacles to overcome in ministry. Here are 12 great tips that I have seen work when it comes to ministry.
1. How do I get better at motivating others intrinsically rather than blasting them with truth or shoulding them into doing things?
I love that all wisdom comes from God. He is not partial but gives wisdom freely to those who search for it, which brings about humility since we can learn from all sorts of people. (Of course weighing what people say against God's Word). On that note, here is a TED talk recommended by a national staff Cru guy I highly respect. It's called, "How Great Leaders Inspire Action", something we all can continually grow in.
2. How can I grow in my heart for the world to know Jesus?
Whatever we feed grows right, so like Prov. 4:23 says, "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it" we need to be intentional about what we are putting in front of our minds and hearts. JoshuaProject.net is a great website that shares where the world is at in terms of being reached with the Gospel. They also have an app that gives you a different people group to pray for each day. It lets you know everything known about that people group like how many believers and if the Bible is translated and such. Then when you pray for them, you can click a little smiley face and see how many other people prayed for them that day. It's free. Get it here.
3. How do I help others become life-long learners?
Have you ever had your disciple tell you something someone else told them and it's the very thing you've been trying to explain to them for months? We never know what God will use to help others actually understand a spiritual truth. And when we don't meet with them anymore we want them to continue to grow because they are not only able to feed themself from God's Word personally but also able to make an effort to get wisdom from other goldly people. The more we can give them wise people to learn from now the better. And really how great would it be if they got to sit down with Lee Strobel and Josh McDowell! Well, they can. Have you heard about the overflow show? It's a podcast and website with videos of wise people talking about important things. You might want to pull it up during a discipleship time to show them and help them bookmark it on their phone to listen/watch when they have time between classes. Here it is overflowtoday.com.
4. How do I help others overcome the entitlement mentality?
My husband Austin posted a great article on facebook the other day from the Covenant Eyes website that made the connection between thankfulness and the basic entitlement/greed mindset so many struggle with. It's a great read, here it is, Why Porn and Thanksgiving Don't Mix. Basically the writer uses Eph. 5:3-4 “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving” to point out "greed isn’t just about money. You can be greedy for food, power, and in this context, you can be greedy in your sexual appetite. Greed is being focused on what you do not have." So if we can help foster in the people we are ministering to an attitude of thankfulness it will go a LONG way in helping them overcome so many other issues. So of course the Lord would say, "...in all things give thanks for this is God's will for you." 1 Thes. 5:18 So it might be a good practice to start discipleship appointments asking what they have been thankful for in the last week and/or help them think of ways to foster an attitude of gratitude in their daily life.
5. How do I balance family and ministry?
Tyranny of the urgent (doing whatever comes up because it's urgent) robs our family and ministry of effectiveness and efficiency. That's why it's so important to have Christ on the throne and make a clearly defined purpose statement and long term goals broken down into short term goals. (Things we are suppose to steward, our behavior and gifts, not things we can't control like other peoples decisions). Then we are able to make decisions not based on impulse but by faith of what the Lord has called us to. Then we are able to say no to good things because though something may seem good, it is actually squishing out the best. A purpose statement and long term goals broken down into short term goals helps us discern good from best.
Besides having a purpose statement and long and short term goals to help us live out our purpose statement, we need to put big rocks first (From 7 habits of Highly Effective People) in our daily life. Big rocks are the most essential things (things like spending time with the Lord in His Word, spending time connecting with spouse and kids etc.) Here's a video explaining the big rocks first analogy.
6. What do I do with someone who thinks they know it all?
Perhaps you've discipled someone who thinks they have it all figured out whether it be ministry or the Bible or just life in general. It's easy to respond in unhealthy ways to these people of trying to one up them, humble/humiliate them, ignore them and so on.
So what really is a healthy way to respond to them? How can we really love them (do what's in their best interest)? First we need to realize if someone struggles with arrogance or pride, just teaching them something is not really going to work. They need to discover it for themselves with the help of the Holy Spirit. We get the privilege of creating opportunities where the Holy Spirit can work. If we provide them with opportunities to step out in faith, it causes them to depend on the Lord (which depending on the Lord only happens when we see or feel our need to).
One thing you can do with them is put them in situations to teach action-oriented things (not theory). For instance, you can affirm them and then suggest and help them set up a time to take so and so young Christian out to share the Gospel.
Asking them questions also does wonders. Things like, "How would you help someone overcome doubt?" "How would you help someone take a step to go on a missions trip?" "How would you help someone be confident in raising support for a missions trip?" "What key things does a Bible study need to thrive?" How would you help a new believer have a quiet time?" "What would you do to help a new believer know how to share the Gospel?" "How would you help someone prioritize their relationship with God?" If their confidence is really unfounded, these questions (as well as others you think of) will help them humble themselves and become learners. However sometimes someone has an appropriate level of confidence we can assume is arrogance. If they can answer these questions perhaps we just need to give them more opportunities to lead. Sometimes perceived arrogance is not really arrogance but someone not being appropriately challenged.
7. How can I get someone into the action?
When my sons we little they got Clubhouse Jr. (a cute little kids magazine from Focus on the Family) and it had an article about a little 8 year old girl who saw a homeless man eating out of a trash can. For the next couple days she was still shook up by what she saw so her parents suggested she do something about it. The girl didn't know what to do so she asked some friends and they came up with a bake and art sale to raise money to give to shelters and other places that help homelessness. Then seeing fruit she then thought of painting jars to give to businesses to have people put their change in to donate to shelters. By the time she was 10 years old she had raised so much money she had to start her own foundation. She is now 18 years old and has raised over 3 million dollars.
I heard Ann Dunagan (author of Mission Minded Family and Mission Minded Child) speak awhile back and she told the story of how her and husband started an orphanage. They were doing open air preaching in another country and she saw a 12 year old boy with no pants. She looked around and saw kids without parents who didn't even have basic clothing. She saw. She felt. She acted.
When we see the need for someone we are ministering to, we can easily resort to only telling them all the things they should do or guilt-ing them when they don't do it. But when they aren't wanting to do something we need to recognize their desires need fixing, not just their actions. And when the issue isn't sin, it may be a matter of not seeing. If they were to see, the Lord could use it to bring about compassion. And the fruit of compassion is action. And compassion led action breeds more action. People can easily get so wrapped up in themselves and in their life that seeing outside of themselves is a huge need. So if someone isn't in the action, think of what you can do to help them see the need. Perhaps a video, a story, a statistic, a book they can read with you or maybe it's just taking them with you to serve.
8. How to spend a day with the Lord. It is a good practice to intentionally make arrangements to spend a day or half day with the Lord to reflect on where you are, where you've been and where you're going as well as reflect on how the Lord has revealed Himself and give Him opportunity to redirect and cast vision for where He wants you to go. Here is a resource to help you spend a half day connecting with Him.
9. How do I find someone to mentor/disciple me? How do I become a mentor? What does discipleship practically look like?
This Discipleship Series (the word mentor is used interchangeably with disciple in these posts) that talk about how to find someone to disciple you, how to find someone to disciple and what discipleship is and what you can practically do in a discipleship appointment.
10. What are some events for my women's ministry? Here's a helpful tool for women's ministry groups-10 Creative, Interactive Women's Ministry Events, Prayer Mosaic, 12 Simple Outreach Events, Discipleship Mosaic.
11. How can I use events to do the Great Commission? Here is a video that talks about how events fit into making disciples.
12. What are some resources to help me foster a heart for the world in my child? Here are some ideas of how to keep God's global mission before your kids .
Laura's desire is to point to Jesus and lead people to be in awe of God. She is married and has six kids, two of whom are adopted. Her and her husband have been in full time ministry since 2002. She serves with Master Plan Ministries as the Director of Women's Ministries and has extensive experience leading Bible studies, discipling women and speaking to groups and is the Founder of the internationally popular blog MissionalWomen.com that helps women live on mission for the glory of God. She has written seven books/Bible studies, designed 2 popular ministry tools and has made journals for quiet times for many books of the Bible. You can find her on facebook, twitter, pinterest, youtube, and Instagram.