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reprinted from the March 1997 edition of Essentials
|Ministers of the Word (pastors of local churches) are one of the few groups who are self employed in our society today. We have no immediate and effective supervisor to direct our activities and to give us feedback. We have the difficult task of creating our own pattern of life and ministry. It is easy to see ministers around us developing the wrong pattern, but it is harder to develop the right pattern for ourselves.
Adam offers both biblical and practical advice aimed squarely at ministers
of local congregations. But there is also plenty here to help the church
member encourage and even challenge their pastors.
Peter Adam is Principal of Ridley Theological College in Melbourne
|I think there are three dangers we can fall into:
|In order to develop a healthy pattern of working and living, we need to make sure that we don't work too hard. If we work too hard over a long period, we will not have the energy necessary for the following vital responsibilities:
|A Biblical pattern of ministry
|It is obvious that there are many pressures on us to do many different things and one of the difficulties of being self employed is that everybody makes demands of us; it becomes especially important that we have a clear view of what we should be doing and also a clear mechanism for achieving what we want to do.
|We must go to the Bible to find our pattern of ministry. I believe it is helpful to look at Paul's instructions to Timothy to discover our primary responsibilities. We read the following:
|It is so important that we gain our priorities in ministry from Scripture rather than from the models of ministry we have seen around us or from the expectations of parishioners.
|A weekly pattern
|One method is to spend sometime at the beginning of each year working out a weekly pattern for the use of our time which will serve our good purposes.
|This system is that we work out in advance how much time we will spend doing various activities during a week, that we keep a record each week of
|the time we spend and if we overspend in one area in one week, than we try to balance up the next week.
|So for example, if we reckon that a fifty hour week is appropriate here is a break up of the fifty hours: 6 hours-administration (organising for the Ministry of the Word to happen)
|6 hours - Leadership in meetings (helping lay people grasp the Gospel vision, and encouraging good priorities in our church)
|6 hours - counselling (using the word of God to encourage people with particular needs)
|3 hours - personal evangelism
|3 hours - training and equipping lay people for Christian ministry either in a group or as individuals 6 hours - in church on Sunday. This will of course include preaching and teaching as well as leading services and meeting people.
|10 hours - preparation and reading for our ministry 2 hours - for the responsibilities we have beyond our local church
|2 hours - being encouraged by Christian brothers and sisters in our ministry
|6 hours - prayer
|The purpose of this structuring is not to create a straight jacket for ourselves, but to try and keep responsible control of how we spend our time and energy, to be proactive and effective in our choices about our ministry.
|We should use our diary proactively, writing into it weeks ahead the time we want to spend on our primary responsibilities. Our diaries should reflect our victory in doing good and godly ministry, and not our defeat by the pressures of those around us.
|Go to the Bible for your model of ministry.
|Plan your life and ministry to achieve your primary responsibilities.
|Make every part of your ministry achieve good Gospel aims.
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