Jesus said, ‘If my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you.’
What a promise from Jesus? How does it work?
When I was 15, we had just moved to Norcross (outside of Atlanta) and my parents and friends from church encouraged me to memorize Bible verses topic by topic. I had a pretty boring summer job so it gave me something to do mentally while I picked up trash, cleaned carpets and scrubbed the pool at an apartment complex.
I don’t remember how many of those verses I memorized.
But lately I’ve been reviewing. And it’s amazing how many of them are still in my mind. And in my heart and life. I have had a pretty clear picture of who God is, how to live by faith in Christ, how to fight against temptation and live in Christ while in this world. I’m far from some super-Christian but I think I’m doing well.
It has something to do with God’s Word being in me, I think. Let me recommend to you the Navigators’ Topical Memory System. Or any system that will get God’s Word to abide in you.
Going back to Jesus’ words I started with: I have not gotten every single thing that I have wished for – because often my wishes were flat out wrong and I didn’t know it – but I’ve grown to understand and celebrate what Jesus has done for me.
And I’m learning to ask for things that line up with His will. Like that you would memorize Scripture.
It might sound boring. But if you feel that, you’re wrong. It’s life changing.
Yesterday at our monthly Church Planting Network meeting in Atlanta, the-one-and-only Dr. Bob Burns led our training on Resilient Ministry. If you are a church planter (or go to a church plant) and there is a desire to survive and flourish in ministry, this book has some great data and insight. And as a church planter coach, I have a suggestion.
It makes the case for gospel coaching for church planters with just two insights.
1. Church planting is non-stop. Being a pastor is “taxing, fast-paced and unrelenting” according to Dr. Bob and his research. Unrelenting resonates. I’ve been in pastoral ministry for over 25 years in a variety of roles. As a pastor, your “job” is never done. As a planter? There is always more to do. Times ten.
More. To. Do. Now. Faster.
It’s a job without any boundaries. Unlike other jobs, where you get to go home, life and ministry blur together and overlap and go really fast.
2. Church planters live in “GO” mode. The research showed that pastors “rarely re-charge and reflect”. Dr. Bob said that pastors do less self-care than every single profession except one. I’ll let you guess which one is worse.
As a planter, I was ON all the time. All the time. If I hadn’t had a coach who pointed me to Christ and challenged me kindly and firmly, I would have run myself ragged, ignored my wife and sacrificed my children to succeed in planting a church.
Care about a church planter? Encourage him to talk to one of our gospel coaches at CMM who can help him learn how to manage and thrive in a non-stop calling.
Then offer to pay. It will multiply benefits to his soul, his family and the church.