Thoughts on an Effective Ministry

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

What Makes an Effective

Minister/Ministry Team/Ministry?

(Thoughts from a former ACMNP recruiter)

 1. Submitted/Committed to God’s calling.

Presumably, the reason why everyone has accepted the call to serve with ACMNP has already submitted to God’s word in their lives.  The “call” happens many more time over the course of a summer with ACMNP: preaching to a group, befriending and inviting international students to share meals, hosting a Bible study for curious friends and employees, praying for a discouraged visitor at a worship service, etc. 

Submission requires obedience, trusting that God will supply the strength and wisdom, and submission also requires spiritual vitality.  Individuals must be alive in their relationships with the Father, attentive to the work of the Holy Spirit, in active pursuit of knowing the characters of Jesus and moving always to be like him.  In other words, you have to be able to hear God’s words to you in order to obey them.

2. Humbled, teachable.

In ministry: We all come from difference denominational backgrounds, different educational backgrounds, and difference experiences in ministry.  To say that one is always better than another is foolish.  To say that certain gifts are more useful than others are to do a great disservice to the vibrant and varied culture of the church.  Individuals should remember that God has placed them on a ministry team, and he has equipped different members of the team with different skills and perspectives. Those things can cause tension where pride is involved; they create a sense of dependence (on one another, on God who holds all things together) where there is humility and a desire to learn.  This is especially important for team leaders/seminary students, I think.  They set the tone and the standard for the group.  Seminarians who take the weight of preaching solely on themselves will miss out on some great teaching by teammates who need only a little practice and encouragement.  Talented musicians who feel pressured to lead worship every week may miss out on the joy of worshipping themselves.  All who have joined the ministry of ACMNP have been called to lead.  All have been given the unique opportunity to learn from others of different backgrounds and skills.   Where humility is present, there is great opportunity for growth… and for joy in the church!

In hospitality work: Almost all of us are college students, coming from a place of very different priorities and work experience than most of the people we will be employed with.  Effective ministers must humble themselves; a college education is not the only way to find success in this world.  Be humble; probably no one cares which books you’ve read this year, how many scholastic awards you’ve achieved, where you plan on going to grad school.  Our dreams are not more worthy than theirs, our relationships not more important.  This is one of the most extreme cultures to be apart of—and yes, some of it seems dark and disappointing.  But we cannot come into to the parks as holy unteachables.  How can we show them the love of Christ if we won’t get near enough to them to build trust in relationship? Why would they come to hear us preach if we do not listen to them tell stories and share conviction?  They are skilled workers (many of them much more experienced at their jobs than we are!), deep wells of stories, believers of all kinds of things.  We must be humble, we must listen before we can speak.

3.) Commitment to Knowing God

We, as individuals on a team, must all be committed personally to knowing God and growing in relationship with him.  It’s easy to set aside Bible reading, prayer time, and and the discipline of solitude while in the national parks.  (It’s a cruel struggle really, what better plan to meet with God than in the parks?!)  Day after day, week after week, both in ministry and in employment, ACMNPers are poured out.  It’s not enough to go on a hike to refresh from a long week. We must we be constant in our prayer lives, often in the Word, pursing greater depth of relationship with the Lord.  When challenges come- and they will come- we have to wrestle with them!  There much be an active, engaged challenge within the minister and among the ministry team throughout the summer. We’ve got to be willing to struggle together, to press against assumptions we once had and explore a fuller life that God might have for us.

 Bottom line: God uses those who are submitted to him, those who have been humbled to lead, those who are personally committed to a growing and challenging relationship with Him.   There is no willing heart than cannot be used here.


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"This experience deepened my assurance of calling to the ministry and sharpened the skills I will need for congregational leadership."
– Kam, Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond 2011

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