“The most untutored person with passion is more persuasive than the most eloquent without.”– Francis de La Rochefoucauld
You are probably not working in ministry full time but this might be of value for you as you lead or dream of ways of serving the Lord. I was recently helping a gentleman in Washington workshop young adult ministry at his parish. He’s new to the game and had really good questions as he was in the midst of starting this age group in one of the most hostile regions for Christianity in the country.
It won’t be easy. There is no magic button to crafting a ministry today, what works in one area might not work in another but there are a few common points I can distill down to share after twenty years of seeing and doing. This is what I had to offer him…
1. Prayer – This is the most essential element when working for the Lord. It’s true no matter the discipline but especially in ministry – you can’t give what you don’t have. If you are not steeped in your prayer life you will not bear fruit and will become susceptible to splintering spiritual attack. Your gifts and talents were provided by God for a reason, return and pray without ceasing through the day. If you’re preaching, don’t just know the Scriptures, love and apply them. Embrace the sacramental life and see the wealth of graces Jesus provides us for the spiritual journey. Repent of the sins that gum up the engine and begin again!
A well-honed prayer warrior runs downhill!
2. Build Relationships – As he was starting out, his connections were thin. You have to do the work and go and get them. Make the introduction to everyone. Speak at Mass, get in the bulletin, see them after church as they’re departing, and load up your schedule with coffee dates.
This will lead to your first round of leaders in joining you along the way. We call them Core Members as they make the core of the ministry. Sell them on the mission you see and onboard them (really a whole other conversation). Form them along the way but you’ll see through your conversations what their gifts and talents are. When you’re well steeped in prayer, the Lord provides. When you multiply the team, you multiply your reach and effectiveness.
Don’t just look for low-hanging fruit at church either, reach out to connections because someone always knows someone else who needs to be reached. Comb the data and phone blitz. As you accumulate people you’re engaged and hospitable with, your offerings will grow or you’re primed to start inviting to your meetings. Lastly, keep a prayer list and keep adding and praying for the people you serve, hard to reach, and haven’t even known yet. Ask how you can prayer for them, log it, pray for it right then and later.
3. Don’t Quit When It’s Hard – You’re going to eat a lot of gravel. You’ll feel terrible about yourself at times – “I’m not good enough”, “Someone else should be doing this”, “I don’t know what I’m doing, nothing is working.”Sound familiar? When you trust in the Holy Spirit, He’s a Master Chess Player. He’s put you exactly where you need to be. You’re the guy (or the girl). The Devil wants nothing more than to make the Master Chess Player’s pieces to move themselves off the board. Double down because the Lord provides. If you need a break, take a retreat. If you need support, ask for it. If you need more skill, endure and learn. The fruit will come.
I’ve been pondering this exchange and I’ll say this formula has legs in your industry or family. Your dreams are in front of you. You’re good enough. Go get it as the Lord allows.
Adam Jarosz is bringing fuel to the productively faithful – subscribe here to get The Climb articles right in your email box, every Righteous Wednesday. You can also follow along the Righteous journey on Instagram @righteousco.