13 September 2015

Longeivty in Ministry ~ Go fast or go far. It IS your choice...

"Like longevity in life, some basic things are needed -
right genes [to be a child of God], right diet [God's Word],
right exercise [involvement in ministry]
and right environment [a place in God's community - the Church].
The Apostle Paul set it as his goal to walk worthy and finish well. So should we!"

Yet what does the practical outworking of this look like in real life and ministry? How do expats working, ministering and seeking to be Christ’s  “…witnesses… [in] Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth" (Acts 1.8, NASB) sustain long and productive careers?

Based off of a sermon by my home church pastor and some additional, subsequent study, I’ve identified priorities, seven of them, that when practiced, can help protect those in ministry, particularly cross-cultural ministry, from burnout and temptation. Even more than protect, these priorities can also give direction and hope as they help us remember that all is grace and a gift from God.

Those priorities are:
1.       Seeking the Lord, consistently and continually
2.       Praying without ceasing
3.       Balancing personal growth, rest and ministry
4.       Welcoming accountability
5.       Committing to marriage and family
6.       Choosing to be teachable, even in difficult circumstances; and
7.       Determining to be a genuine team player.

This post considers that final priority – determining to be a genuine team player.

I’ve always been competitive. As a young person, I competed as both a gymnast and a swimmer. I swam in college (until a torn rotator cuff ended my years as a swimmer). And while I was always part of a team… the nature of the beast in both of those sports was highly individualistic. There was always a lot of rhetoric about self being the toughest competition – and always reaching for a better score or a faster time.

But? The bottom line…at least for me?  

I wanted to be first and the one standing at the top of the podium with the blue ribbon, biggest medal, the tallest trophy... not just winning out over competitors from other teams, but also scoring higher than/touching ahead of my “teammates.”

And I was okay with that. In fact, my introverted, very private, very individualistic self actually preferred it that way. I could publically cheer for my friends and teammates, but privately celebrate when I was the winner.

So I didn’t, really, learn how to play on a team until...

To read the rest, please join me over at Missionary Mom's Companion, where I posted yesterday - finally finishing (except for the wrap up post) - a long series on longevity in ministry! Be sure to let me know what you think by commenting!

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