How do you live out the Great Commission in your life? In your ministry?
In my life – my relationship with the Lord is the most treasured and important part of who I am. I meet with Him daily and multiple times each day. I love to study the Word and teach His truth to others; I pray all throughout the day and make it a known thing to all those around me as I pray with and for them; I talk about Him and try to incorporate Him and His attributes in all my conversations. I raise my son through the teachings of God’s Word and he hears often how the things He does (good and bad) are seen and relate to God and His teachings.
In my ministry – initially, and I don’t mean this to sound sarcastic, is there a difference? I work very hard to be the exact same in my ministry as I am in my life (and in my life as I am in my ministry). My ministry is to be a direct outpouring of my life and to be otherwise is not only hypocrisy but as Scripture defines it, double-minded (James 1:7-8). However, to give some specific examples to answer your question, to the best of my ability I try to make sure that everything I do and say is run through the Lord and according to His will. I practice daily, through prayer and the reading of His Word, the act of reminding myself about how helpless and weak I am and that no good thing dwells within me apart from Christ.
Elaborate on your vision for ministry.
My vision for ministry is as follows:
To meet people at their deepest needs through ministry; exercise Christ’s love through service; equip the saints through the ministry of the Word and discipleship; draw people to God through Christ-centered worship; and connect people together through a fellowship of (agape) love. Lives lived for the Great Commandments and the Great Commission will result in fulfilling the greatest purpose.
In obedience to the Lord, I will let Christ build His Church, and His local church (Matt. 16:17-18). I will lead the church and guide its ministries so that the community sees something built by God and not man. I want to drive the individual members of the church outside its comfortable walls where ministry and the Gospel is so desperately needed and faith is exercised. I also desire to restore marriage to the God-honoring and illustrative purpose it was established to be (Eph. 5:32).
How would you assimilate your vision into an existing church?
The ministry of the Word, discipleship, example, and prayer. It takes time, perseverance, faithfulness and a heavy dependence upon God’s Word and prayer. I will provide ministry opportunities to exercise and see these things to be true, but teaching and the Lord possibly changing hearts must precede this reality.
Describe worship and its importance in the life of believers and the church.
Worship in the general sense is showing honor and priority towards something we value or hold in high regard. I have to define it in the general sense before I get spiritual because the worship of God is not the only type of worship we do (unfortunately). We worship and idolize all sorts of wrong things in our lives, which is what has us in the messed up, upside down state we’re in. When you can’t even make it past commandment #1 the rest are sure to fall.
Worship in the Biblical sense is showing honor with extreme love and devotion to the One who not only created us but has given us everything we need for life and godliness and salvation (1 Peter 1:3; John 3:16; Romans 5:8). Worship is defined and intensified by the priority we place on who God is in our lives and the significance we place on following Him. It is not something we reserve for Sundays and special events only, worship is a matter of the heart and expressed through your life. A person’s resolve in worship is only as great as their love and submission to Him. This is the purpose for which we are called, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies (worship) of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2:9) The condition of your worship of God reflects the condition of your love and devotion to
Since worship is a matter of the heart, not simply on our lips or in the songs we sing (Isaiah 29:13; John 4:23) and expressed through our lives, worship in the church is simply the individual members of the body coming together to do their worship as one. To God it is designed to express His significance and Lordship in our lives; for us it is to strengthen and stir us up to greater sacrifice and devotion to Him and His work.
Describe the differences in preaching, teaching, and mentoring and outline your strengths and weaknesses in each.
The distinction between preaching and teaching is not one that Scripture draws for us explicitly. Additionally, the way modern denominations use these terms is not always consistent with the way Scripture uses them. So the question you ask can be fairly complex. However, since I don’t prefer complex (I try to keep things simple) I will do my best to keep this brief and answer the question as I believe you are asking it.
Preaching is distinguished from teaching by certain variables (purpose, audience, venue, etc.). Preaching is more of an authoritative proclamation of the Word of God to usually a much larger audience with the purpose of affecting change in a person’s heart, growing faith, and presenting the Gospel. I like how Charles Spurgeon put it, (my paraphrase) “Preachers are simply to present the text, the Holy Spirit delivers the sermon.” There is less interaction and the ability to go deeper. It is definitely for teaching, reproof, correction…that the man of God may be complete but there is not as much opportunity for the training and equipping to happen. This is what you would invite someone you wanted to hear the Gospel and get saved to. This is also only to be done by men who meet the qualifications as laid out in Acts 6; 1 Timothy 3 and Titus1.
Teaching involves all of the teaching, reproof, correction…that the man of God may be complete, but it also enables more of the training in righteousness and equipping for every good work to happen. There is the opportunity for more interaction and digging deeper into the Scriptures. The purpose of teaching is to help listeners grow in their faith and relationship to God and gain a deeper understanding of Scripture. Anyone who is saved can do this.
Mentoring is simply another way of saying discipling. Discipling is living or sharing your Christian life with someone or more than one person. You do this, which is commanded by God, in order to give them an example to follow about how one should live the Christian life. Paul gives a good picture of this in 1 Corinthians 4:14-17 where he tells those believers at Corinth to imitate him. It is an investment into someone’s life for the sake of fulfilling the Great Commission and the command to be fruitful and multiply.
I believe I am strong in all of these areas and I do them not only because I love doing them but because they are what I have been called to do. I am not the best in any of these areas, but I am constantly growing and trying to follow the Lord’s leading in them all. Currently I preach when I get the opportunity, I teach a Sunday School class at the church we are attending, and I currently disciple/mentor two young men from my community.
How would you define a “successful” Church?
One who’s #1 goal is to glorify God. That may sound impossible to some, but I don’t believe that it is. God tells us to be holy because He is holy (Leviticus 11:44-45; 1 Peter 1:6). It is impossible to be like God, but our faithfulness is found in our pursuit. My desire is to lead the church to desire to glorify God in everything we do. If we are striving for that we will be a successful church.
How would you define a “successful” Pastor?
I believe a successful pastor is one who is striving after the same thing. I see it in pastor after pastor, the temptation and struggle to be liked and accepted by Man. As a result, not only does that cause the pastor to fall away from God and His truth, it causes the church to fall away from God and His truths as well.
My desire is to glorify and please God by my life and ministry. I hope the majority of the church finds that pleasing and follows, but in the end I do not answer to Man for my ministry I answer to God. I want to be like Paul, satisfied with my life and ministry in the end.
Describe steps you would take to help the church to grow.
So much of this question and others requires more of an understanding and experience with the church and community. There are many fun and useful events and outreach ministries we could use to draw people in and touch people for the Lord, but not all of them work in every community.
I would rely heavily upon the Lord to guide me/us in doing the things that will make the biggest impact. I know that preaching the Word, service projects, sharing the Gospel, inviting people to church and fellowships will play a big part in growing the church. Perhaps one of the most pivotal points that will impact the church and whether it will grow or not is found in its members. If the members are not full of the love of God, if they are full of unconfessed sin, if they do not desire the church to grow or are unwilling to do the work to make it happen, it will not be blessed and grow (Acts 2:46-47; 1 Corinthians 3:5-7). This is where spending time initially ministering the Word to the people and allowing God to change their hearts must happen.
There is a prayer I learned to pray long ago and lead my people to pray it with me to help in this area. It goes like this, “Lord, protect us from the program, drive us to the ministry.” Church growth is not about how fun a church is, how popular a church is, how rich a church is, or how modern a church is. Church growth is a matter of faithfulness and truth. It is the Lord’s work and we must keep that in mind.