Ministry Amnesty: Your Window Is Closing

It is time to get back to business. We figured out how to do ministry online and offline and with various restrictions. We figured out new systems and new tactics, and we’re looking at new software, new hardware, cameras and all kinds of things. But I need to tell you that the amnesty period is pretty much over.

We’ve had this window of time to figure it all out. It is now time to get back to business and revisit our reason for existence. Revisit our purpose and move beyond maintenance mode and move beyond learning new software, new toys, and those kinds of things.

The purpose I’m talking about is the big purpose. My podcast is called Priority Pastor. What is the priority? Priority is making disciples. In Matthew 28 Jesus makes it pretty clear, go and make disciples. Acts 1:8 tells us to be his witnesses.

Maybe you think that if you are a leader in local church, or if you are just a disciple, a follower of Jesus Christ, you have some other purpose. I’d like to challenge you on that. Somebody will say our purpose is to glorify God. And I say, yeah, it is. But you glorify God by making disciples among other things.

I remember when blogs first came out and they were starting to get big and people were just oohing and aahing over the idea. A lot of pastors thought “I can write this article that I can reach people across the world.” People from Neverland in Timbuktu are emailing me, and our ministry is just so great.

It was interesting of course, and exciting, but the question very quickly arose, what are you actually doing locally? Are you actually doing what you’re called to do? Are you actually making disciples where you are? Having traffic to a blog or hits, which in the internet marketing world, HITS is an acronym for “how idiots track success.” They don’t mean a lot.

Traffic by itself doesn’t mean a lot and I’m seeing a similar dynamic right now with streaming services online. Churches that were never online are now online and they might have had 50 or 100 people in church. Then they see they’ve got 200 or 300 or 500 people viewing, or 500 screens anyway, and it’s so exciting. Viewers on the screen is kind of the same as hits on a blog and it doesn’t by itself mean anything. How are you actually leveraging that? How are you making disciples locally?

If you are a disciple, you’re called to make disciples. If you are a leader in local church, you are called to equip people and lead them in making disciples and make disciples through those ministries. That is the issue. And so I feel like I’m probably going to make a little shift in some of the emphasis of my podcast to emphasize that. This is Priority Pastor. It is about a focused and sustainable life and ministry, and the focus really is making disciples.

Priority Pastor is really about doing the right things in the right way and doing it better, so we’re called to make disciples. We can’t let that slide away in all our talk of efficiency and effectiveness, tactics, tools and new online opportunities. It’s about making disciples. And we have to have clear in our heads, what is a disciple of Jesus Christ?

I’ve sought to answer that question in my book “DNA of a Christ Follower.” Then of course, the question is, how do we make disciples in our specific context? How do we do that, which is what we’re called to figure out.

If you have an online component you have to figure that out, not just spew out content. You might take that Old Testament verse out of context that says the word will not return void. Well, it doesn’t mean you can spew up content everywhere. It means that God’s Word does accomplish what it’s supposed to do. Not that our spewing accomplishes what it’s supposed to do.

So we really need to make sure we are focused on the purpose of making disciples and rigorously grappling with how we do it in our time and our place right now. So we’ll talk more about that. But in the meantime, get clear in your head what a disciple is, be a person that models it and figure out how to multiply yourself. Be a disciple who makes disciples. God bless. Press on.

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