This month we’ll be taking a look at 7 Practices of Effective Ministry by Andy Stanley, Reggie Joiner and Lane Jones. This book is like a personal trainer for church leaders, giving you a game plan for implementing effective ministry. But beware—you may be surprised where your ministry goes after reading this book. Let’s just say that “doing more” doesn’t necessarily equate to “winning” in ministry.
Today, we’ll take a look at the first three chapters of this challenging book as we’re introduced to Ray’s story. I have a feeling that you’ll be able to relate.
Take Me Out to the Ball Game
This is the time of year when Major League Baseball is starting to step into the homestretch, with a handful of teams geared to make a solid run for post-season play. In ministry, August is when we’re often greasing our gears to kick-off a multitude of new programs, with the good intentions of somehow meeting everyone’s interests and needs. But many of us may be feeling like Ray, the senior pastor we’re introduced to at the beginning of this book. For one night, Ray just wanted to cast his ministry cares away and just enjoy a night out at the ballpark.
Ray made a bold move when he turned his car around to head to the ball game rather than the church board meeting. When Ray arrived at the ballpark, he had no idea how a baseball game would transform his leadership and ministry.
The Opening Pitch
Ray got the surprise of a lifetime when he was asked to throw out the first pitch at a nationally-televised baseball game. In baseball, a “win” is pretty clear—a perfect pitch over home plate is a strike. And a runner crossing home plate is a point on the scoreboard. That home plate plays a critical role in who wins a baseball game.
But what equates to a “clear win” in ministry? Ray contemplated that question, and his conclusion was that it wasn’t easily definable. But did it really need to be so complex? So multi-faceted? Then Peter Harlan, Ray’s host for the evening, challenged him with this: What’s the most important thing in your ministry?
Clarify the Win—this is the first step toward effective ministry.
The Orange Connection
Orange believes we need to be intentional in ministry. Too often, ministries tend to drift away from their original purpose. They try to be everything to everyone. Orange will challenge you to clarify the win for your ministry. And like Ray, you may be surprised how heading in a different direction can help you clarify the win in your ministry.
Think On This
What is your game plan for ministry? How can you relate to “Ray” in these opening chapters? Who helps hold you accountable to sticking with your game plan for ministry? How can you be intentional about focusing on your ministry’s “clear win” this fall?