What can you control and what is out of your control in ministry? While pastors trust God with their ministries, that doesn’t mean they can’t be proactive in caring for their own futures and the futures of their churches. Some general trends in this week’s ministry briefing are well worth watching and considering.
The easiest things a pastor can control right now are diet and physical activity. It’s easy to talk yourself out of eating well or exercising regularly with all of the essential ministry work to do, but pastor Seymour Wattenbarger ate himself right into the hospital, sidelining himself from ministry for a season. Disciplines such as diet and regular exercise will increase your energy levels, relieve stress, and help you cultivate other habits. Besides the biblical picture of your body being a gift from God where the Holy Spirit resides, there are many practical reasons why pastors need to take control of their health.
While you can’t necessarily control who shows up and leaves your church each Sunday, each pastor should know what the general cultural trends are in order to know what they may be facing in their own congregation. The latest study from Pew Research has found that women are working longer hours, are more likely to be a religious “none,” and are less likely to attend church compared to previous years. Are there steps churches can take to reach women who have busy schedules and less time in their daily schedules?
General church planting trends need to be evaluated in line with your church’s calling and context, but it’s important to understand which trends are out there and how God could use them in your church. For instance, while churches are finding that planting for growth is more effective than planning for long term growth at a single church, multi-site models are shaking up the approach that churches are taking today. In addition, pastoral training is moving into the churches themselves, giving congregations more input into the ministry training process and leading to hands-on experience for seminary students.
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