To My Brother’s and Sister’s In Christ,
I am so blessed to have you with me in ministry. I thank God all the time as I reminisce about our first encounter. A young teenager who was filled with life’s brutal challenges, that sought out the love and support of a caring church family. I remember the day you had your first encounter with Jesus and you chose to follow Him. Your life hasn’t been the same since. As I think about all that you have endured throughout the early years of your life, I am so encouraged and in awe to think about your intense faithfulness despite your challenging circumstances. This gives me hope! If you can wake up every morning and choose to take up your cross daily, then certainly I can too.
I pray that the countless coffee talks, pizza runs, and just hanging together has proved to be productive for you. I hope by now you know that this mentoring relationship that we have had over the years I take very seriously. For me, I believe that setting aside this time to interact is one of the most important things that we as faithful leaders can do. I am grateful that you yourself are now mentoring other young emerging leaders. This is taking seriously what the Apostle Paul’s instruction are for us in 2 Timothy 2:2, “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.” I pray that you will be active in preserving and passing on the truth that has been given to you, not only from me but the others in your church family of families.
As you grow and mature spiritually, hold tight to the teachings of our faith. I would encourage you to stand strong and honor the past that has been given to you by faithful men and women, but be bold enough to study the Scriptures and follow the convictions that the Holy Spirit gives you. In the world we live in now, there will be many who will have a variety of differing opinions when it comes to doctrine. Just be faithful to the Word of God that was implanted in you from the very beginning. Be strong enough not to buckle, but patient enough to show grace. Who knows, maybe God could use you to draw them to Himself.
As you are active in the ministry, I am sure you’re already aware, there will be many challenges that you will face. Nothing really is easy. As I have always said, Pray daily for wisdom, because you will need it. Discouragement will be Satan’s number one tool. If you allow him to, he will destroy your passion. Don’t allow those damaging words from others to get you down. Don’t identify with what others say about you, but may your identity always be in Christ and what He says of you. You just be faithful in all situations, lead by example, lead out of being rather than doing, being faithful to who God has called you to be. Don’t forget that ministry is not a one man show, it requires a team. Always learn what it means to work yourself out of a job. It’s our responsibility as leaders, to always be training others up who can be entrusted with areas of ministry.
Finally, ministry can be exhausting, so work hard to protect your time. In doing this you will save both yourself and most importantly your family. If you don’t create your calendar, others will do it for you. If you let others dictate your week, then they just might determine if the congregation receives milk or meat on Sunday morning. You know me well enough by now, I want you to love people and I hope I have modeled this well for you, but be careful to protect your time. Learn to adopt a heart attitude of Sabbath rest, where you are regularly seeking God’s presence and rest. Your soul needs it and longs for it. As you know, the world you live in today is a culture of now. Everything is instantly buying for your time and energy. Celebrating Sabbath requires that you resist the barrage of pressures and distractions in your life and yes, even your ministry. Those intense pressures to perform and our pride that lies to us daily that our ministries somehow won’t survive without us. When we fall for these pursuits it effects us physically, emotionally, and worst of all spiritually. Resisting these distractions takes intentionality on our part. Intentional moments of escaping, resting, and renewing. Don’t forget that Jesus himself modeled this for us in His own ministry.
You know that as your leader, I am not perfect, and I am sure that I have disappointed you. But my prayer is that I have been faithful in my daily walk, have exemplified what it looks like to be a true follower of Jesus, and have made it clear that reaching others for Christ is our ultimate goal. I trust that God isn’t finished with me and I am dedicated to being a lifelong, passionate learner. May God use you in powerful and profound ways as you seek Him with all your heart, mind, and soul.
I love you and thank God for you.
Grace and Peace,