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The best feedback you can get… “it seemed a bit weird”

Like the tip of an ice-berg, the feedback that you (or something you did) seemed a “bit weird” is some of the best feedback you can get. Why? Because it reveals that you and your listener were on a very different worldview. Here is a person who sees the world in a very different way to you… so different that the thing you did din’t make sense to them. Gold!!

So what’s under that tip of the ice-berg?

Is it their peculiarity? Or is it yours?
Is it their attention span? Or is it your idea of what’s engaging?
Is it the structure they couldn’t follow? Or the content within the structure?
Is it the tone they felt your used? Or was it the tone you tried to use?
Was there something going on you didn’t know about? Or were you assuming they knew the context better than they did?
Did they hear what you actually said? Or did you say something you didn’t mean?

The feedback that it was a “bit weird” is — if you can upturn that ice-berg — a gold mine of self-understanding!

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Paul, the Areopagus & the Why of evangelism

We all find evangelism hard. Admitting that is the first step to dealing with it. But what’s the second step? What gets in the way of people taking the next step with their acquaintances, friends and family?

Our Mission Pastor, Sam Hilton recently gave an excellent talk from Acts 17 that highlighted 3 big reasons. I’d recommend you listen to it. If you’re training an MTSer, it would be a great resource to listen and review together.

  1. We don’t understand the non-Christian world-view enough
  2. We don’t get distressed about people’s idolatry enough
  3. We get caught in the same idolatry, and don’t long for God’s glory enough

Have a listen here.

 

Why most people get the ‘T’ in MTS wrong…

The Ministry Training Strategy (www.mts.com.au) is an awesome and much needed part of the Australian Christian landscape. But… most people think the ‘T’ in MTS is about being a Trainee… they think it’s the Ministry Trainee Strategy… and they’re wrong.

MTS is very keen on young men and women doing a two-year full-time hands-on word-ministry placement before further theological training and/or Pastoral Leadership roles. The MTS Movement wants to see thousands of people do these Traineeships. But MTS is not primarily about Trainees… the ‘T’ is MTS is really the Ministry Trainer Strategy.

MTS is about young men and women becoming Ministry Trainers – for the rest of their life.

Let me put this another way… if you were an MTSer and you’re not currently training (or recruiting) someone into full-time gospel-leadership… you’ve stopped being part of the Strategy, you’ve missed the point of MTS… that you’re never meant to leave, you’re never meant to stop calling others into full-time gospel-leadership. Your MTS involvement was never meant to end.

Are you a trainee who dropped out, or are you a trainer who’s still part of the strategy?

 

p.s. If you do want to get back on the Trainer “horse”, grab some keen Christians from your ministry and come along to the MTS Mission Minded Conference in Sept 11-13 2015.

When they say, “Church needs some people to NOT do full-time ministry”…

It seems like a sound argument… If 100% of Christians tried to do paid-ministry, there’d be no-one to pay them. Therefore the church needs people who will faithfully decide to not do paid-ministry. Right?

Even though the statement is “true” it fails on three counts.

  1. It’s putting the cart before the horse. You don’t make a decision about entering paid-ministry on the basis of whether other people are doing it. You offer your life to God, you work it out with him – regardless of what other people are doing. What if God actually wants lots of people going into paid ministry!?!?
  2. No-where near 100% of people are going into full-time ministry. In fact, only about 50% of people who start on the road to paid-ministry end up in paid-ministry. Our church has a congregation of uni-students & grads, and only about %4 of them start on the road to full-time paid ministry!
    But think about all the other churches around Australia where students and grads are NOT being challenged to consider paid-ministry!!! That 4% ends up closer to 1%.
    Your church may not need more paid-ministers, but Jesus’ church does. So train at your church and take it to other churches.
  3. The argument implies that people who choose to “stay in the workforce” will be just as helpful to the gospel by being able to pay for others DOING paid-ministry (as compared to going into paid-ministry themselves).
    Anecdotally, this is false. If it were true, wouldn’t these people be making the same financial sacrifices those entering FT ministry make? The average MTS Scholarship is about $25-$30k. If you really believe the argument above, doesn’t that mean you should invest every cent you earn above $25k into gospel workers – people who are doing MTS?

The similarity between Ministry and Magic…

…it’s only cool until you know how its done.

Every kid who’s seen a magic trick starts imagining themselves as a magician. That’s why toy stores sell those starter-magic kits. But if they sold so many, wouldn’t there me so many more magicians?

The reality is, as soon as a kid realises that the magic trick is more trick than magic, they quickly lose interest. Doing magic is only cool when it’s amazing. When you’re just hiding a card in the other hand, it’s boring.

Inviting young men and women to consider a lifetime of gospel ministry is a bit like that. They see you doing “impressive” and “amazing” Christian ministry…. they hear the bible knowledge and wisdom… wow! But when they start doing it, they soon realise that ministry is hard work, taking hours of preparation time, years of just reading the bible one your own and with others. Regurgitating the same wisdom you’ve been given over the years. It loses it’s shine.

Which is sad, because ministry really is the closest thing to real magic in the end. By the grace of God, we see people move from death to life. God uses us to raise the dead, proclaim forgiveness of sins, melt hearts of stone, rejoice for eternity. Amazing.

Introducing a new Safe Ministry Training Course that your church will actually want to use

Our church has always wanted two things;

  1. We want to make it easy for people to get their hands dirty in ministry.
  2. We want to make it safe for kids, teenagers and adults by training volunteers and leaders well.

However, over the past 12 months we’ve had to make sure we were doing 2 other things;

  1. We want to fulfil the legal obligations surrounding the new Working with Children Check.
  2. We wanted to be eligible for insurance cover (through our insurer EA Insurance).

So, with these goals in mind, I’ve spent the last 9 months developing a Website; SafeMinistryTraining.com.au. We launched this tool last week.

SafeMinistryTraining.com.au is for all churches… it focuses on training the average punter in your church… the youth group team, the Sunday school teachers, the helpers, the leaders. Rather than burdening them with hours of training, it just gives them the basics very clearly and makes sure they know who to talk to if they have any issues.

Over the past few years at HBC, we’ve had over 400 volunteers do the basic training online. They get to do it in their own time, and it means we’ve had a culture of careful and safe leading.

The extra feature offered through SafeMinistryTraining.com.au is the automatic WWCC verification. When a volunteer does the training, the site automatically checks their WWCC number and sends the verification to their church leader.

If you’re interested in using SafeMinistryTraining.com.au at your church, please go there and get in contact with us.

 

How should you instill in people a godly ambition to take on more responsibility?

It’s helpful when people “step-up” and take on more responsibility. It allows leaders to delegate more and start new things and keep things going. But how should we motivate people to step-up? Rewards? Notoriety? Offer to meet up with them 1:1? Offer them more time with “the staff”? (that might back-fire)

I reckon its the idea of stewardship. Paul says “You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” He says this in the context of avoiding sexual immorality, but the principle he goes back to is much bigger than that. It’s the idea that Jesus owns you; your body, your energy, your time. You don’t have to choose what to do with your day. You have to choose what to do with Jesus’ day. Jesus entrusts 24hrs of time to you every day… 168hrs every week. 

What are you going to do with Jesus’ time? What are you going to do with the body Jesus has loaned to you?

Lets do something great!