Monday, November 17, 2014

Five Ways the Power of Example Impacts Your Ministry

"Example is not the main thing; it's the only thing".
Albert Sweitzer

"Children hear what you say, but they believe what you do".

"People the world over have always been more impressed with the
power of our example than by the example of our power".
President Bill Clinton

I am a huge believer in the power of example. It just might be the greatest tool we have in our personal ministry. Recently, I heard a new friend who is an adult follower of Jesus share his story of coming to Christ in college. He spoke of the example of his Bible Study group leader who took him to help set up for their weekly large group event. My friend quickly pushed his side of the chairs into some order and threw some song books on each chair. Then, he saw how his Bible study leader was carefully positioning each chair. So, he re-did his section of chairs. Then, he saw how his leader carefully placed each song book in exactly the same place on each chair. My friend re-did the song books in his section. Then, he saw his Group leader stop and pray at each chair. Yes; then my friend went back and prayed over who would sit in each of those chairs that night.

Five Ways our Example Impacts the Ministry We Lead:

1. Who we are draws students to our ministry.

The personal characteristics that we demonstrate affect who is drawn to our ministry. That is a truth that we cannot deny. It is a reminder that we are responsible for being the best we can be. I spoke on a campus where the leader was an athlete and I noticed the large number of athletic type guys. I was on a campus where the leader was a, their music folks were out the top. I believe the single greatest ministry tool your ministry has is you. Nothing in your ministry is more important or
valuable than your personal example. It might scare you to know how closely students
watch, learn and take from who you are.

2. Who we are affects what students take from our ministry.

If they see us pray about situations and care about people who do not know Christ, they are more likely to take that from our ministry to their adult life. Former BCM Presidents who now serve in secular work leadership roles, have messaged me pictures of how their meeting room was organized prior to a big meeting or how someone said, "Where did you learn to lead a meeting like that"? They took that from my ministry. No; it's not is valuable and a reminder they are taking all kinds of things from our example. Students have commented about how much I went to church and all I was involved in at my church. I was not parading it, but they saw it.

3. What we demonstrate in personal characteristics affects our financial support.

If you have to raise your salary or depend on churches, organizations, or individuals for financial support of your budget, who you are affects that. People want to support someone they admire or respect. Do you show up for meetings on time? Do your work habits exhibit someone they think will use their money wisely? It is difficult to separate your feelings about a ministry from your feelings about the ministry's leader.

4. The ministry we lead will reflect our strengths and weaknesses.

The longer we serve as the leader of a ministry, the more that ministry will reflect who we are. It will have our strengths and our weaknesses. It becomes a picture of the leader. I am more convinced of this now than I ever have been. It is a reminder of why we can never cut corners in our personal practices and we must empower people within our ministry that have different strengths than we do.

5. Our example will affect parents sending students to our ministry or advising them to stay away.

I know of situations where the final decision maker in parents feeling good about where their son or daughter would go to college was their belief in the leader of the campus ministry there. As this generation of "Helicopter Parents" speak into the lives of their sons and daughters, how they see you is even more important. Yes; there are situations where parents say, "Don't go there". And, it is a result of what they have seen in the example of the leader of that ministry. When prospective students and parents visit your ministry....just know, the parents are sizing you up.

"Example is not the main thing; it's the ONLY thing". Sweitzer

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