I was brought in to “grow” the church. Just a little bit of pressure for a young minister who thought he knew exactly what to do. The pastor wanted me to grow the youth ministry and teach classes to help turn the whole church around. I really thought I could do it! Needless to say, what I thought would be a crowning achievement for my personal legacy turned into a large weight around my neck. The church did not grow and the pressure I felt was enormous. One year after arriving, I ended up having to move my family because the church could not afford to keep me on staff. Talk about eating a big piece of humble pie! I thought I knew how to grow a ministry, but I had the wrong mindset.
Ministry growth is a key buzzword for many and if we aren’t careful, the passion to grow a ministry will consume us and we can develop some bad mental mindsets. Let’s ask a couple of questions to help us stay in the right mindset:
1) What are we growing?
- Ministry growth is about the people and not the ministry. Too often the focus on the individual gets lost in the collective growth of the organization. We become so growth focused, we forget that our calling is to ultimately grow the people of our ministry and not the ministry itself.
- We are called to make disciples not just grow ministry. As we make disciples, our ministries will experience growth. The question for us is, “How discipleship focused are our ministries?” What are we doing to grow our people in the gifts God has given them and how are we releasing them into ministry? This applies to any ministry in the church, from Children’s ministry to Senior Adult ministry. If discipleship is not the focus, we are in danger of being a very moral club.
2) What is our motivation?
- My motivation for wanting to grow the church was not for the glory of God, it was for the glory of me! Looking good was my true motivation. Personal insecurities were the overwhelming factor that I was too immature to realize. The desires to have people respect me and think well of me were the fuel for my insecurities. This blinded me to the reality of my ministry growth zeal.
- How often does personal insecurity motivate our passion for ministry today? We have to take a long look internally and make sure our inner motivations are not based on our own desires for acceptance and respect. Burning out is a real danger when the foundation of our ministry passion is our own insecurity. Ministry growth will not satisfy a deeply insecure person. In fact, it will do the opposite and make them more insecure.
The two questions we have started with are short, but they are not easy to answer. Often times, we need time and feedback to truly answer these questions properly. Take some time and write out your answers to these questions. Then get some feedback from some trusted friends to see what they think. Remember insecurity thrives in isolation, so find some people you can be in community with about your true motivation for ministry growth.