It was the Summer of 1969, and I found myself in Memphis, Tennessee, pursuing some practical aspects of training for ministry. For two years, I had served as week-end Youth Pastor and Music Director for Faith Baptist church in Chester, South Carolina. I traveled the eighty miles from Greenville to Chester on Saturday afternoons, conducted a Teen meeting Saturday Evening, and slept on a pull-out bed in the church office Saturday night.
Sunday mornings found me sponge bathing in the church bathroom, teaching a Teen Sunday School class, leading congregational singing and directing the choir for morning worship. Afternoons involved choir rehearsal, another Teen meeting, and music for evening worship. Exhausted, I would drive home Sunday night, tumble into bed, and arise at 5:00 a.m., to deliver newspapers before my first university class at eight.
I cherished the opportunities in Chester, as they taught me much about pastoral ministry. But I also sensed a need for additional experiences, so I accepted an invitation to Interstate Baptist Church in Memphis to serve during the summer. My primary work was door to door visitation. Every day from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., I knocked on doors of homes within reasonable distance from the church. Memphis is hot and humid in the summer, but the experience I gained talking to hundreds of people about the gospel was more than worth the uncomfortable weather. In addition, I worked with the Teens and supplied the pulpit for the three or four Sundays that the pastor was on vacation.
I have learned from many different models in ministry.
These would include my own pastors, as well as all types of other Christian leaders.
Surely someone studying for the ministry should find, hopefully, more than one thing to emulate about each of his college and seminary professors. And, thankfully, that is my overwhelming testimony. In fact, my teachers have been some of the most influential people in my entire life (see Luke 6:40).
Read the series.
You can’t convince them to do it. You can’t make them do it, but you know it’s the right course of action, and you feel responsible. What can you do?
Several common responses should be promptly rejected. Empty threats should be off the table for Christian parents, spouses, coaches, teachers, coordinators, etc. (Eph. 6:9). That option only builds resentment, damages relationships, and reduces whatever respect the leader has. Ranting and sulking certainly don’t help (Gen. 42:36). Quietly stewing in bitterness finds its way out eventually, too (Num. 20:11-12).
Better options include reexamining our sense of responsibility, reexamining the potential tools, and refocusing on the tool of influence.