Wednesday, December 30, 2009

How to handle demanding people.

jesus-praying-2 But now even more the report about him went abroad, and great crowds gathered to hear him and to be healed of their infirmities. But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.

Luke 5:15-16

People can make demands on us. No where is this more true than in ministry. As the gospel grows and as ministry demands increase, the great temptation is to try and manage it solely by sheer personal charisma, skill, or administrative ability. That is always a bad move. People do not create ministry, God brings it. And God brings the capacity to deal with it.

Jesus modeled the proper first step towards managing demanding people. When the ministry encroached into uncontrollable territory, He simply headed away from it (for a time) to immerse Himself in His relationship with the Father. The secret then of handling the advance of ministry is to strategically make personal withdrawal into the presence of God. Jesus needed to pray, to nurture His soul’s communion with the Father. He set the example for how His followers and His ministers should be when the demands and challenges come our way.

I am thankful for this insight today. Mill Creek Community Church is in a time of challenging growth, even as resources (including staff and volunteers) are being stretched thin. It isn’t just the economy that presents the challenge. It is also the culture and the opportunity. Lots of strategic thinking has been spent on our next steps. I am all for it. In fact, there will be more to come. But I know my soul. And right now, it needs to follow Jesus in the wilderness for a short nourishing stay with the Father.

The last three days have been spent analyzing the past year’s ministry initiatives and looking toward 2010. And God has given me some ideas and thoughts there. But I think that for the rest of today (except for one scheduled people appointment) I am going to follow Jesus into a desolate place. It is a beautiful day for it, with two more inches of pure snow on the ground, a pot of Starbucks on the warmer, and this passage to bring perspective. Here I go…

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