Lessons Learned on the Road of Ministry

As I was nearing the completion of my coursework at Southern Seminary, I took a class called Integrative Seminar with Dr. Greg Brewton (Associate Dean of Music and Worship Leadership).  This class was geared to assist those seeking full-time minister of music positions gain practical wisdom before leaving campus.  The class was filled with information about interviewing with search committees, building a ministry resume (as opposed to a secular one), leadership training, as well as much spiritual wisdom.   The following is a list that Dr. Brewton gave us containing basic principles he had learned over the years in the local church ministry.  I read through this list periodically to gain fresh perspective and practical wisdom.  Whether you are a volunteer, part-time, or in full-time ministry I think there are items on this list that can prove helpful to your situation.

Some Basic Things I’ve Learned About Ministry (by Greg Brewton)

  • It’s not my church; it’s the Lord’s church.
  • It’s not my ministry; it’s the Lord’s ministry.
  • It’s not my music ministry money; it’s the Lord’s money.
  • Be a good steward of the ministry the Lord has allowed you to have.
  • If you are lazy, find another job.
  • The grass is not always greener at the larger church.  Bloom where God has planted you.
  • Prayer is the key to an effective ministry.  Don’t make decisions and then ask the Lord to bless your decisions.  Seek Him first.
  • Respect your pastor – seek His guidance and support on major decisions.
  • Never talk negatively about your pastor or another staff member, especially with lay people.  If you have a problem with the pastor or staff member, go to the source.
  • Always be growing in your relationship with the Lord.  Your ministry will be the overflow of your time with the Lord.
  • Always be growing in your music training and ministry training.
  • Your family is your first place of ministry.  Block time on your calendar for your wife and children.  If you lose your family, you lose your ministry.
  • Take your wife or husband out for a date without children once every week or two.
  • Plan family vacations and trips.  One day your children will be grown and then it will be too late.
  • Manage your time – keep commitments, let the church office know where you are.
  • It’s about people, not the music.  We are ministers to people.
  • Balance your ministry – don’t spend all of your time in your office – ministry is about the people.
  • Be an effective communicator.  Plan months or a year in advance.  Get your message out several different ways.
  • Be early for rehearsals, meetings, and services.
  • Always be prepared for rehearsals.  Your people deserve your best.
  • Model servant leadership.
  • Build a ministry team (accompanists, children’s choir workers, choir members, praise band leaders, media techs).  Could the music ministry continue after you are gone?
  • Delegate – the only way to expand your ministry.
  • If you are tempted by ice cream, don’t keep it in your freezer.  The minister’s purity is a top priority.
  • Never be alone with another person of the opposite sex at church.
  • Take a day off each week and do not think about work.
  • Be humble; do not seek to be out front or first.  Give God the Glory!
  • Strive for excellence in all you do.  It is the Lord whom you serve!
  • Don’t burn bridges, one day you may need to travel back that way.
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