April 10, 2017

Ministry in the iPhone Age: 12 Things I've Learned

Ministry has never been easy but, if you ask any ministry leader who's been at it for at least ten years, they will all tell you that it's harder than ever.

In the twenty first century, Christian ministry has taken on a whole new dynamic. How we were taught to do ministry used to work. Not anymore.

In almost twenty years of ministry, I've learned many things. One of which is, if you plan to be in ministry a long time, change is inevitable, and
you will have to reinvent yourself from time to time

In the process of reinventing myself for ministry today, here are twelve things I've discovered:

  1. Christians under forty will not, and should not accept the same old stale ministry styles of the past.

    These individuals are educated, some well educated. They are high achievers, relational and many are entrepreneurs.

    Access to information is now at their fingertips. 
    No longer will they or should they be passive listeners sitting in the pews, listening to a sermon without interacting with the speaker.

    Many of them are curious, and have questions they need answers to. They want to be part of the conversation, just like first century Christians. 

  2. If you want to lead and see people truly transformed, lead with an agenda

    "If the Church is really going to compete in today’s media-driven marketplace of ideas, and if we want to get on the radar and have people seriously consider and reconsider what it means to be a Christian, then we need to worry less about the world’s agenda, and more about ours." Phil Cooke

  3. When it comes to the word of God, it’s not only what you communicate, it’s also how you communicate it.

    Many did not listen to Jesus' message, not because He didn't communicate well, but because He spoke the truth.

    In today’s world, where everyone is offended or needs a “safe space”, people will not always listen to the truth. 

  4. Though many ministry leaders are, and continue to be conservative when it comes to social issues, many in their congregations hold liberal views.

    One thing's for sure, Hollywood has more influence on Christians than Christian leaders.

  5. There needs to be a massive effort on the part of Christian leaders as a whole, to rethink the way we do ministry. Obviously, the current form doesn't work, when you consider less than 20% of Americans gather as a body regularly. 

  6. Don’t be afraid to change. All ministries have gone through change at one time or another. Change does not mean you did something wrong, it simply means you want to do something right.

  7. Respect the changing technology, or get left behind. If someone wants to hear a great sermon of their favorite preacher or speaker, the 'church' is no longer the only place to hear it.

    Blogging, podcasting and video streaming for a great number of people, not just millennials, has replaced the building.

    Social media has become the alternative to meeting Christian friends, or receiving praise reports. Understand that if you are a pastor,
    you are not the primary voice your flock listens to.

  8. Keep it Real. Years ago, when I first started studying and dissecting the bible, I not only learned valuable spiritual lessons from the failures and successes of the individuals in it, I also discovered that they were human just like me.

    Each and every person in the Bible had their own unique issues, just like you and I.

    When you include the roughness, pimples and warts of those in the bible exactly as they were, the hearer can relate and realize their own transformation is attainable.

  9. Pay attention to the cultural trends and changes. Ministry leaders who study the current culture learn and have the ability to adapt. They figure out how to change without compromise. They are willing to change their model or methods without killing the mission. These ministries overcome and succeed in the long run. I write about this here.

    With every advancement in knowledge and technology, comes a cultural shift. Regardless of your denomination, whenever culture shifts, you should pay attention or pay the price.

  10. Get rid of the 1990's Christian lingo. When we talk about the various stories in the bible, tell the stories differently and articulate with words that reflect our current times.

    Make it plain, so that a new generation will be more willing to hear God's word.

    Teach the Word of God in a way that is actionable, relatable and can be applied to the lives of those we lead, TODAY.

  11. If you are a ministry leader who is over forty years of age, you need to understand that ministry and every aspect of it's expression has changed. The world of ministry in which you grew up, it no longer exists.

  12. For the first time in history, ministry leaders have to manage and understand the concerns of five different generations. “Traditionalist” (Born before 1945), “Baby Boomers” (Born 1946-1964), “Generation X” (Born 1965 – 1980), “Millennials” (Born 1981- 2001)  “iGeneration” (Born after 2001). Understanding the different generations is the first step in influencing the change your ministry is looking for.
The twelve things listed above is the short list of things I've learned while reinventing and repositioning myself for ministry in this current iPhone age.

I'm an entrepreneur and teacher, so I'm used to and willing to take the risks to experiment and learn to keep you informed. (Acts 8:31)

What's on your list?

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