What is the key to a successful ministry?

walk-of-fame-star_23-2147513560When we ask ourselves this question, we often ask it in the context of a success and fame driven world. While as Christians, we may not be wondering ‘how can I be great,’ but we often as not are wondering ‘how can my ministry be successful?’ or ‘How can I do great things for God?’

I’m not sure these are bad questions to ask, but as I was praying through this recently for my own life, I sensed God give me clarity on how to achieve success: I need to redefine the goal.

In my life, God must be the prize, not ministry success. The goal is to seek Him more; love Him more; find more joy in Him.

As I pursue God, I may find that he uses me for some great, joyous purpose. He may give me what the world defines as ‘success,’ but if He doesn’t? Who cares? I’ve already attained the greatest treasure.

Run the race so as to attain the prize, but don’t forget that He is the prize.

7 Ways You Can Help People Welcome You Into Their Church

welcomeStarting at a new church is undoubtedly tough, but there are definitely challenges on both sides.

No one doubts the importance of being a welcoming church, but what about being an easily ‘welcomable’ person?

Here are a few things that really make it easier for a church to embrace you!

  1. Come consistently. If someone sees you several weeks in a row, they’ll start to realize that you’re serious about connecting.
  2. Don’t leave as soon as the service ends.  If you want people to be welcoming, you need to be available.
  3. Say yes to invites. People who say no give the vibe that they’re not interested. It can be nerve-wracking for someone to extend an invitation to someone they don’t know. Getting a no can feel like rejection and makes them less inclined to ask again.
  4. Join a small group or Bible study. This is how people in big churches get to know each other. If you’re not in one, don’t be surprised if you feel out of the loop.
  5. Get involved in ministry. This is one of the best ways for you to connect with people and sends a message that you’re actually planning to stick around
  6. Make yourself known! There’s nothing wrong with going up to someone and letting them know you’re new. Especially in a big church, people can be afraid to ask in case you’ve been coming for a long time!
  7. Realize that good friendships take time to cultivate.

You might be sick, but you’re not useless.

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A friend of mine recently sent me a link to the Wikipedia page of Laura Hillenbrand. The name, at first, meant nothing to me, and I wasn’t sure why she’d sent it, but as I read, something jumped out at me, and I knew it was what she wanted me to see:

“Hillenbrand’s first book was the acclaimed Seabiscuit: An American Legend (2001), a nonfiction account of the career of the great racehorse Seabiscuit, for which she won the William Hill Sports Book of the Year in 2001…Hillenbrand suffers from severe Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and remains largely confined to her home.”

I am not confined to my home, but I do know the debilitating weight of this illness; the way in which it seems to strangle your talents and potential. And yet, I find in Hillenbrand’s life the inspiration that sick people don’t have to feel useless.

To recount all the blessings I have encountered not despite, but because of my illness would take thousands of words, but I too have discovered that even sick people have a purpose and calling from God. We may not all be great writers, but God does not leave his Children without gifts to use for the building up of the church.

So if you’re sick, or tired or you find yourself in circumstances that you never would have chosen, do not, on top of all that, despair that you have no earthly use or purpose.