September 1, 2016 by Presbyterian Foundation
Matthew 11:28-30 ESV
Olanda Carr Jr.
Ministry Relations Officer East Region
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
For many of us, September denotes more than just the change of seasons – it also marks the return to busyness. As the days of summer wind down, we find ourselves anxious with “back-to-school” energy, as we return to familiar routines of regimented schedules, committee meetings, and other related duties. We may even find ourselves feeling prematurely tired at the mere thought of resuming such a hectic lifestyle. Yet, Jesus reminds us in Matthew 11:28-30 to come to Him with our burdens and labors and he will grant us rest! We must not allow our transition from the easy days of summer to fall activity to deprive us of the joy that can be found in discipline. Yes, you read that correctly – joy can be found in discipline. Thus, our issue this month is devoted to the spiritual disciplines of preach, teach, pray, and counsel and their relationship to the education of ministry leaders.
Preach − I’m sure most of us have heard the phrase “preach the gospel – and use words if you have to!” As believers and spiritual leaders, it is incumbent upon us to recognize that our behavior as leaders is the sermon that keeps on preaching, long after the benediction. The manner in which we lead our gatherings, execute our events, and relate to other ministry leaders preaches volumes to those that are watching and following. Thus, as we resume and conduct scheduled activities on the church calendar, let us remember to do so with joyous energy. Often, the success of an annual fall campaign or ministry fair can be traced to the manner in which it is communicated to the congregation.
Teach − Fall is also often a good time to train future leaders within our ministry teams. Many seasonal stewardship activities can become so familiar, that we forget to involve others in the planning phases. The temptation to do things as we’ve always done them before is ever-present. As leaders, we must overcome this temptation and include the contributions of others in all phases of execution for activities. As we approach the end of the calendar year, let us therefore remember to involve newer members, youth, and others in our campaign efforts and events.
Pray − 1 Thessalonians 5:17 reminds us to “pray without ceasing.” As leaders within the church, it is easy to sometimes feel overwhelmed with the expectations placed upon us. Whenever we detect this feeling lurking about, we must remember to take pause and seek God in prayer. God intends for us to live joyously in community, seeking direction and guidance always. Leaders should thus be encouraged to begin and end meetings, deliberations, and other gatherings in prayer, relying on the Holy Spirit to lead us where we are to be led.
Counsel − As leaders, counsel can often be the most challenging discipline, as we have to remember to seek counsel when needed as well as offer counsel appropriately to others. Yet, when executed correctly, counsel in either direction is truly priceless. The next few months will likely be extremely busy for many of us. Seeking the counsel and wisdom of others or offering a simple suggestion of support can often ease the tensions of a tight stewardship campaign schedule.
Preach. Teach. Pray. Counsel. − The autumn season is quickly approaching, but that doesn’t mean our spirits have to fall with the leaves. Let us be deliberate with practicing the aforementioned spiritual disciplines in all that we do, joyously reflecting the vibrant colors of ministry in the process. To God be the Glory!
Peace and Blessings,
Olanda Carr Jr.
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