Ministry Life Lessons

I have been serving in the local church professionally since 1999. Off and on that adds up to about 13+ years of hard knocks. Serving in the local church is emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually draining. Being a minister requires a specific calling in life that fuels your passion to see people’s life change even when you are personally struggling. It requires the ability to discern God’s voice from those trying to force personal preferences. It demands a level of faith that at times seems foolish to others. Being in a supporting staff position for many years I have graciously been able to learn some leadership life lessons. Many of the following lessons I learned through personal mistakes and from those I have served with.

  • NEVER! EVER! EVER! Take a ministry “job”. If you are not specifically lead by the Holy Spirit to serve in that church/position then be faithful and wait.
  • Every church/ministry has speed limits. Take time to learn the processes, people, and failures of those before you.
  • Take advantage of the honeymoon! You might have 6 months at the beginning to prove yourself. Those you are serving and serving with are sizing up your competency, vision, loyalty, and love for them.
  • Never promise what you can’t deliver!
  • Realize that every change you make means someone else’s idea has failed in some way. Be sensitive and bring people with you.
  • You can lead all you want. If people are not following you are not the leader!
  • LOVE LOVE LOVE your people! When they know you don’t truly love them it’s like a shark feeding frenzy. They will not stop until every piece of you is revealed.
  • Open up your life. If you can’t share your life with those you lead then they won’t share their life with you.
  • If you can not articulate a clear vision and direction for those you lead then you are not the leader or your sin is preventing the Holy Spirit from revealing that vision to you.
  • When money is involved make sure you are influenced by the Holy Spirit and not fear. “If it’s God’s will it’s God’s bill!” Perry Noble
  • Make sure what you bring to the table is valuable to the organization and measurable.
  • Value is defined by the people you lead. What your leadership highlights is what is valuable. If you highlight nothing then you are at the mercy of those with loud voices within the organization and not what the Holy Spirit has revealed within you.
  • If you define your success on anything less than visible life changes through Jesus Christ then your definition has been compromised!
  • The Kingdom is more valuable than your preservation. Are you truly willing to give everything for the Kingdom?
  • Honor, lift up, and bless your staff. People need a pat on the back every now and then. It builds loyalty, teamwork, and mutual respect.
  • Be quick to admit fault.
  • BE REAL! People respect authenticity. The good, the bad, and the ugly.
  • No one follows someone that is negative all the time. If you are unhappy then leave!
  • If your family is not 100% in and supportive then you will never be successful.
  •  If you consistently blame those you “lead” for failure within the organization then you are admitting that your leadership is the failure.
  • People reflect what you project!
  • If you have a resume of any kind floating around then you are not 100% committed. Be great where you are and the offers will come to you.
  • Excuses only mask a deeper issue.
  • If everyone knows the problem but chooses not to confront it then leadership is driven by fear instead of honesty.
  • People care more about how you love them than how you lead them! Love first and leadership is given.
  • If you dodge confrontation then you are not 100% committed and weak. Leaders are not scared to face people!
  • If no one challenges your leadership and decisions then you are not producing leaders. You are producing slaves.
  • If you love people don’t expect them to love you back.
  • There is a difference between true friendship and people that are “friends of the minister”. Know the difference.
  • When everything is stripped away all you have is your relationship with Jesus, family, and very few friends. Always put those relationships first!
  • Letting go is harder when you have given 110%. Be grateful for the hardship. It’s evidence that God used you!
  • If you haven’t taken a step of faith then don’t expect to see those you lead to take one.
  • Many people lash out toward you because they are hurting inside. Respond with love.
  • Some people will never “get it” just move past them.
  • Never forget those that believed in you early on!
  • The highest level of leader you will attract will always be 1 step behind you. Grow personally because those ahead of you will find a higher level leader to follow.
  • If God has given you a platform and you do not proclaim the message of Jesus Christ at every opportunity then do not be surprised when your platform is removed! If you are then expect blessings from God and attacks from Satan.
  • If you want to find someone desperately seeking God then follow the trail of His blessings.

These are just a few thoughts that I wanted to record. They are compiled over many years of ministry reflection and by no means do I assume they are all correct in your perpective. I am sure every leader has an extensive list so please add you experiences and nuggets in the comment section.

BIG NEWS… I’m Planting A Church

On Sunday, February 5, Greer First Baptist Church, its Staff, and Leadership Team began their celebration of the calling God has placed on Lance Martin, our Minister to Students, to launch a new church near his home town. Greer First Baptist is a church that supports the advancement of God’s kingdom through church planting as a primary and proven tool used to reach those who do not know Christ. Lance will be finishing his service here at Greer First Baptist on Friday, May 4, to launch this new church in the District 5 area (Lyman, Duncan, Wellford) of Spartanburg County.

We are delighted for the time we have shared with Lance and his family over the last 6 years. Please join us as we celebrate and pray for this new endeavor over the next few months. Pray for Lance as he continues ministering to our students and plans the initial startup of this new work.

Please pray also for the Leadership Team as we begin to look for our next Student Minister. These next months will be bittersweet as we lose a Student Minister but gain a sister church and partner in advancing the Kingdom. We look forward to God’s blessings as Lance, GFBC, the Leadership team, and the staff are being obedient to His will.

OFFICIAL STATEMENT: Created and approved by Lance Martin and the Leadership Team of GFBC

A personal post will come after I have had the chance to connect and answer questions with the THRIVE Students of GFBC on Wed. Feb.8…. Lance

Passionate or Petrified?

I was reading a blog post by Perry Noble this morning on the subject of hiring people. I love his insights and particularly this quote….

“The church cannot afford passionless people in prominent positions…life is too short and hell is too hot to have people on staff that do not care about Jesus, people far from God, the church and it’s vision!  A person with no passion will always seek to do the least amount possible…and people like that never make a difference!” Perry Noble

WOW!!! Here is the bottom line. Regardless of the positives and negatives within your role a great leader will find a way to rise above mediocrity. It’s called the “it” factor and “it” is fueled by PASSION! Great leaders hate mediocrity and know that when life is tough and situations are difficult God is in control. His promise of Jesus should always be the focus. When we begin to take our focus off of Jesus we become intoxicated with fear. Fear promotes hopelessness, desperation, apathy, and allows the negative people to have a voice! Let me be clear… there is a difference between a realist and a negative person, and every organization needs a healthy balance between realist and optimist. Each day we have a choice to do what is simply necessary or to rise above mediocrity. Rising above mediocrity requires courage, passion, and faith…so the question is are you PASSIONATE or PETRIFIED?

“Regardless of positives and negatives within each of our roles PASSION can still exist. Be great where you are!” Lance Martin

“If things are under control then you’re not moving fast enough” Mario Andretti

“If an idea is not absurd it has no hope” Albert Einstein


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