By Rev. Dale Cockrum | Inland District Superintendent
[dropcap]I[/dropcap]n the last several Inland Steeples (part 1, part 2), I’ve been sharing a conversation I had with new pastors at the Clergy Transition Workshop, identifying how I measure pastoral ministry, my own and those of the colleagues with whom I serve the churches of the district. Mary Huycke, the leader of the event, challenged me to name my deepest convictions about ministry. Here is number three:
3. Ministry gives itself away.
The book I would share with you is by Marlene Wilson, How to Mobilize Church Volunteers.
I love teaching Disciple Bible study; I’ve used it to great effect in three of my four churches. It hadn’t yet been written when I was in my first. I love to work with participants over the 34 weeks of the study to take us to deeper levels of understanding scripture and applying it in our lives as growing disciples. But my best experience with Disciple Bible Study was when I discovered a young man in one of my churches that was exploring ministry and was a great natural teacher, and I turned the class over to him for the year. I gained such joy in watching him bloom as a student and teacher of the Bible.
Even in my smallest church, with an average attendance of about 45, I found and trained people who would share in visitation ministry. I wasn’t trying to get out of visiting, but one pastor even in a small church can’t do as much as is needed. There’s plenty of need for people to share…and great programs for training people to recognize their spiritual gifts and start doing ministry with you. We have a couple of part-time pastors in the district who’ve taken this to a new level by even giving Sunday morning worship away, not every week, but once a month or so, so that their lay speakers and Certified Lay Ministers get the chance to lead worship, and the congregations can hear other voices and differing perspectives.
Here’s another choice you will face often in a week of ministry: should I do it myself, or should I bring in other folk who will share the work with me? I know all the reasons why the first choice is easier. What are some of those reasons? [I can do it more quickly and better. I don’t want to bother people. It’s just a little job; why make someone come just for this…] Don’t listen to those voices! Give your ministry away.