Ministry Journey Blog

Thoughts on Ministry

20 Jul

Life on the Other Side

Posted in Uncategorized on 20.07.20 by Merlyn

After working in churches with only a couple periods of 1-3 months off, I am for the first time in 20 years living life on the other side of the church, as a worshipper. This transition has been wonderful and has gone much easier than I would have ever of hoped or expected. 

As I have made this transition, I have worked to think carefully about how to best be a part of a church after two decades of serving as a pastor or staff member in a church. I knew I did not want to just attend and I reject taking a consumer approach to church. I also knew it would be critical to set boundaries given all my work in the church, boundaries for my own good and out of respect to the staff of the church. In the end, my goal has been to be the church member that I would love to have had as a pastor. So far, the following things have been really important in this journey:

  1. Make my primary goal encouraging and supporting the pastors and staff in the church, praying for, talking with, listening to and blessing them in any way that I can. Pastors and staff face a lot of challenges with little encouragement and support, especially in the challenging time in history we find ourselves in.
  2. Pray, pray, pray. I pray for my church, the pastors and staff every day.
  3. Assume the best in the pastors and staff. This is easy and important. Its a rare thing to experience in a church as a staff member. 
  4. Be willing to do anything that you can to help, jumping right in to ministry in the church. For many pastors, a break, an easing in is needed for health and that is good.
  5. Give generously of time, talent and treasure. 
  6. Tend to your own spiritual life well.
  7. Don’t be a consumer. Don’t go to church to be ‘fed’ or made happy. Don’t evaluate anything based on your own preferences or wants, instead, look for the ways that the things you see can be good and helpful.
  8. Don’t engage in anything that is petty. Often, the things that church members focus on are the petty things that have nothing to do with the mission, the Kingdom or the Gospel. 
  9. Offer genuine praise your church, pastors and staff in the church, the community and online.
  10. Don’t offer an opinion on something unless asked to help or offer an opinion or if you develop a relationship where sharing your thoughts is right, natural and helpful.  

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