Why Not Try This?…7 Lessons from 10 Years of Ministry

Ten years ago, my life changed.

Back then I had big plans for my life. I had tried pastoring early in my career, but found it stifling. (I was also pretty bad at it.) So after working in public relations for a few years, I earned an MBA and went to work in high-tech product marketing. I worked for a Fortune 500 company, as well as some little Internet startups with big plans. My goal was to hit a home run, retire young, and go start a church plant.

God had other ideas. And ten years ago, almost to the day, instead of just letting me pursue my own plans, he drew me into a job where I got to serve pastors and local church leaders. I loved it. And out of that experience, SermonView was born.

As I reflect on these last ten years of serving local churches, here are some things I’ve learned:

1. Effective is more important than innovative.

There are always better ways to do something. The world around us is constantly changing, so we have to continue to innovate in order to keep up.

Personally, I enjoy innovation, and in the beginning I pushed churches to do things in more innovative ways. But I came to realize that the ultimate goal is not innovation for its own sake; the goal is effectiveness. Just because it’s a new way, doesn’t mean it’s a better way. Maybe I’m turning into an old fuddy-duddy, but I now believe that if something is working, don’t change it. Especially when you’re dealing with volunteers running ministries on a weekly basis, there had better be a good reason to make a change. If it’s going to make you more effective, then make the change. Otherwise, leave well enough alone.

Similarly, I had some ideas for marketing evangelism meetings that were really innovative. But we tested some of them, and they didn’t work as well. I never in a million years thought I would ever say this, but if the beasts of Daniel and Revelation on the cover of a mailer are effective (and for some prophecy seminars, they really are), then use them.

That said, you must continue to innovate, or your effectiveness will drop over time. But I no longer innovate for its own sake; the goal of innovation is effectiveness.

2. Problems are God’s, not mine.

God is a whole lot smarter than me. It took me a while to figure it out, but when I let God work through me to do His work, things get a whole lot easier.

A few years back, I read about an encounter someone had with Dr. Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade for Christ. As the story is told by his son, a reporter from a Christian magazine asked him, “Dr. Bright, share with us a problem from your life that READ MORE

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