Wednesday, February 11, 2009

"Ten Things I wish I knew when I was 25"

Mark Driscoll is a pastor of Mars Hills Church in the States. He has become an influential and powerful preacher in the evangelical churches, and is one of the most sought after evangelical speakers today. I had the privelage to be at two of his talks in Sydney, at a RICE event last August.

Pastor Mark started his first church when he was 25, with no bible college training whatsoever. In this talk, Mark reflects and talks about ten things he wished he had known about ministry at that age.

1. I wish I knew the difference between Prophets, Priests and Kings
Jesus is a Prophet, a Priest and a King
- Prophet: preaches, teaches and rebukes according to the scriptures
- Priest: loving, forgiving and counselling
- King: organiser and builder of the church

For us
- Prophet: loves doctrine and preaching
- Priest: loves people and cares for them
- King: is an organiser, and a humble servant

2. I wish I knew that Satan, Demons and Judas's were real
Satan is real. Demons work in people. Satan will always try to accuse you (Rev. 12:10) and talk us down. There will always be enemies and people who betray you, but we just have to love them (love our enemies) as Jesus did.

3. There are rough patches in Ministry that you need to just live through
Just like life, there will be rough patches and troughs in ministry. We just have to live through them, and put on a 'stubbornness to not give up'. You can also see these times as a time where God is pruning you, and making you focus on Him, and getting ready for the future harvest.

4. I wish I would have known the power of silence and solitude
There are two types of people:

Activists - do, do, do
Contemplatives - quiet, prayerful, studious

We have to learn to both:

Ministry - time we give and do things
Silence and Solitude - time to meditate on Jesus and he sustains us and pours his word into us

5. I wish I knew that Humility is the Key to Ministry
Self Explanatory (Ref. to James 4:6, 1 Peter 5:5-6, Phil. 2)

6. I wish I knew that no-one else knew what they were doing
Most of us wish that there was someone who could tell us what to do, how to do it, and have all the answers for us in ministry. However, usually this is not the case. In one sense, all of us in ministry are pioneers. We all have our unique situation and unique ways of doing things. What we can do is to remember silence and solitude, to keep going back to Jesus, because he knows everything, and we must be in tune with Him to work His will in our ministry.

7. I wish I knew how to handle my critics
As a christian and being part of ministry, there will be people out to get you and criticise/accuse you of many things. Jesus Himself was criticised when He was on earth. We have to learn how to take criticism, decipher any truth in them (because criticism is usually based on some sort of truth), and to handle it in a loving and appropriate manner.

8. I wish I knew that sudden depression is normal and OK
Portions of Psalms and Lamentations are derived from 'lamenting' and times of depression. Many christian leaders (Charles Spurgeon, Luther) have gone through times of depression. When people are depressed, they cry, they're hurt and they grieve, but we must accept that we will become depressed in ministry, and we have to pick ourselves up. We're on God's side and He's always looking after us and looking out for us.

9. I wish I knew I needed a release valve and a lightning rod
Lightning rods ground lightning strikes. For us, this means that we need someone who we can release and pour out all the things we've been frustrated at/angered about/annoyed at/etc. to someone who will listen and just take it (obviously not taking anything physically). A release valve is just something that we can we can take time to get our mind off things and have fun. Hobbies/interests/sport and other things are release valves, and we must keep our release valves acceptable, healthy and unsinful.

10. I wish I knew about the Ministry of the Holy Spirit
Regeneration - we have a new heart (spiritually)

Doctrine of Regeneration:
- A new identity: We are a child of God and part of His family
- A new status: We are justified, saved and made Holy

The Desires from the Holy Spirit:
- It implants loving thoughts into our minds and hearts
- It guides us and speaks to us so that we may do God's Will

I hope these 10 points will spark thoughts in your minds and encourage you in your ministry.

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