The longer someone is in ministry the easier it is to go from a “missional” mindset to a “survival” mindset. When we end up spending most of our week working out of a sense of “survival” rather than a sense of being “missional,” we are in a dangerous position. To keep this from happening, we have to make time for some “self-leadership.” For me, I have found two aspects of “self-leadership” that helps me to stay fixated on acting out of being “missional” in ministry rather than simply trying to “survive.”
The first of these two aspects is READING. When I make it a point to read good books that inspire me and help me to stay focused, I can more easily continue to be “missional” in what I do.
The second of these two aspects is what I call RUBBING. By that I mean rubbing shoulders with non-churched people. For me this includes having lunch at least 3 days a week at the same place in town where I am building relationships with people in our community who do not go to church and where I am meeting non-churched people every single week.
When I am involved in the “self-leadership” aspects of READING and RUBBING I tend to be more “missional” and focused less on “survival.” With this in mind, I led our church ministry staff into a 5-week exercise that would give them the opportunity to do some READING and RUBBING on their own without adding any time at all to their already full time constraints.
Here is what I did. I bought each of our ministry staff a book of a great Christian hero from the past. No two books were the same. I also purchased for each of them a $10 gift card to a local restaurant or coffee shop (no two locations were the same either). Beginning today (Monday, September 23) and for the next 3 Mondays, each of our Ministry Staff here at Gaylord E-Free is to spend the time we usually spend in staff meeting at that local restaurant READING that book and RUBBING shoulders with non-churched people. Here are the “rules” I gave to them:
For the next 3 staff meetings they are to go by themselves to the restaurant they have been assigned in order to read their assigned biography. They may not change or change restaurants or books. They are to be at their assigned restaurant reading their assigned book for one full hour. During this hour they are to have their cell phones turned OFF. The church office will know the restaurant they have been assigned to and can be sure they are contacted in the event of an emergency.
For the two staff meetings after these three READING and RUBBING weeks, each staff member will then give a 20-MINUTE verbal report to the rest of us on the book they read. We will be pulling names out of a hat to see in what order each person will share.
Now it’s time for some serious READING and RUBBIBNG!